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Mulise  (Neapolitan)
Molise in Italy.svg
Coordinates: 41°41′59″N14°36′40″E / 41.6997°N 14.6111°E / 41.6997; 14.6111
Country Italy
Capital Campobasso
  President Donato Toma (FI)
  Total4,438 km2 (1,714 sq mi)
  Density70/km2 (180/sq mi)
Demonym(s) English: Molisan
Italian: Molisano (man)
Italian: Molisana (woman)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 code IT-67
GDP (nominal) €6.5 billion (2018) [1]
GDP per capita €20,900 (2018) [2]
HDI (2018)0.863 [3]
very high · 15th of 21

Molise ( UK: /mɒˈlz/ , [4] US: /ˈmliz,mˈlz/ , [5] [6] [7] Italian:  [moˈliːze] ; Molisano : Mulise) is a region of Southern Italy. Until 1963, it formed part of the region of Abruzzi e Molise, alongside the region of Abruzzo. The split, which did not become effective until 1970, makes Molise the newest region in Italy. Covering 4,438 square kilometres (1,714 sq mi), it is the second smallest region in the country after the Aosta Valley, and has a population of 313,348 (as of 1 January 2015).


The region is split into two provinces, named after their respective capitals Campobasso and Isernia. Campobasso also serves as the regional capital.


Molise is bordered by Abruzzo to the north, Apulia to the east, Lazio to the west, and Campania to the south. It has 35 kilometres (22 miles) of sandy coastline to the northeast, lying on the Adriatic Sea looking out towards the Tremiti islands. The countryside of Molise is mostly mountainous, with 55% covered by mountains and most of the rest by hills that go down to the sea.

Main sights and monuments


Monforte Castle (Campobasso) Campobasso castello.jpg
Monforte Castle (Campobasso)


Altilia (Sepino) Saepinum (66).JPG
Altilia (Sepino)



Province of Campobasso

Isernia collage Collage Isernia.jpg
Isernia collage
Venafro castle Castello Pandone.jpg
Venafro castle

Province of Isernia


Castle of Termoli Torre Termoli.jpg
Castle of Termoli
Campobasso's Cathedral Cattedrale campobasso.jpg
Campobasso's Cathedral

Agriculture, involving small and micro holdings, is currently offering high-quality products. The agricultural holdings produce wine, cereals, olive oil, vegetables, fruits and dairy products. Traditional products are Grass Pea (cicerchia) and Farro. Molise's autochthonous grape is Tintilia which has been rediscovered during the last ten years, and many other PDO (DOP) wines, both red and white.

Though there is a large Fiat plant (Termoli), the industrial sector is dominated by the farming industry with small and medium-sized farms spread widely throughout the region. Another important industry is food processing: pasta, meat, milk products, oil and wine are the traditional products of the region. In the services sector the most important industries are distribution, hotels and catering, followed by transport and communications, banking and insurance. With few exceptions, in all sectors firms are small, and this explains the difficulties encountered when marketing products on a national scale. [8]

International tourism is growing largely as a result of the recent opening of international flights from other European countries to Pescara Airport, which is not far to the north in Abruzzo and connected to Molise by the A14 highway (the only highway passing through Molise, by Termoli).

The unemployment rate stood at 9.5% in 2020. [9]


Historical population
1861 355,000    
1871 374,000+5.4%
1881 382,000+2.1%
1901 395,000+3.4%
1911 396,000+0.3%
1921 383,000−3.3%
1931 377,000−1.6%
1936 388,000+2.9%
1951 407,000+4.9%
1961 358,000−12.0%
1971 320,000−10.6%
1981 328,000+2.5%
1991 331,000+0.9%
2001 321,000−3.0%
2010 (Est.) 319,000−0.6%
2017 310,449−2.7%
Source: ISTAT 2001

The density of the population in Molise is well below the national average. In 2008, Molise registered 72.3 inhabitants per km2, compared to a national figure of 198.8. The region is subdivided into two provinces: Campobasso and Isernia, which together cover 1.5% of Italy's territory and less than 1% of its population. The larger province in terms of area is Campobasso at 2,909 km2, while the smaller is Isernia at 1,529 km2. The province of Campobasso is the more densely populated of the two provinces, with 79.4 inhabitants per km2, whereas Isernia registers 58.9 inhabitants per km2. [10] At the end of 2008 the most populous towns were Campobasso (51,247 inhabitants), Termoli (32,420) and Isernia (21,811).

In the period 1951–71, large-scale emigration to other countries of the European Union, to other parts of Italy and overseas led to a significant decline in the population of Molise. Negative net migration persisted until 1981. Large-scale emigration has caused many of the smaller towns and villages to lose over 60% of their population, while only a small number of larger towns have recorded significant gains. From 1982 to 1994, net migration has been positive, then followed by a negative trend until 2001. Between 1991 (330,900 inhabitants) and 2001 (320,601 inhabitants), the population of the region decreased by 3.1%; [10] since 2001 the population remained stable.

The region is home to two main ethnic minorities: the Molisan Croats (20,000 people who speak an old Dalmatian dialect of Croatian alongside Italian), and those who speak the "arbereshe" dialect of Albanian in five towns of "basso Molise" in the province of Campobasso.

Government and politics

Administrative divisions

Molise comprises two provinces:

Map of region of Molise, Italy, with provinces-it.svg

ProvinceArea (km2)PopulationDensity (inhabitants/km2)
Province of Campobasso 2,909231,92179.7
Province of Isernia 1,52988,93158.2


Molise has much tradition from the religious to the pagans, many museum, archeological sites, musical and food events.


Arts, musical and food festivals



The cuisine of Molise is similar to the cuisine of Abruzzo, though there are some differences in the dishes and ingredients. The flavors of Molise are dominated by the many aromatic herbs that grow there. Some of the characteristic foods include spicy salami, a variety of locally produced cheeses, dishes using lamb or goat, pasta dishes with hearty sauces, and vegetables that grow in the region.

In addition to bruschetta, a typical antipasto will consist of any of several meat dishes, such as the sausages capocollo, the fennel-seasoned salsiccie al finocchio, soppressata, ventricina, frascateglie or sanguinaccio. In addition to these sausages, a variety of ham is available, such as smoked prosciutto. Frequently, the sausages are enjoyed with polenta.

Main dishes of the region include:

Common second dishes (often meat and vegetable dishes) are:

Typical vegetable dishes may include:

Fish dishes include red mullet soup, and spaghetti with cuttlefish. Trout from the Biferno river is notable for its flavor, and is cooked with a simple but tasty sauce of aromatic herbs. Zuppa di pesce, a fish stew, is a specialty of Termoli.

The cheeses produced in Molise are not very different from those produced in Abruzzo. The more common ones are Burrino and Manteca, soft, buttery cow's-milk cheeses; Pecorino, sheep's-milk cheese, served young and soft or aged and hard, called also "Maciuocco" in Molise; Scamorza, bland cow's-milk cheese, often served grilled; and Caciocavallo, sheep's-milk cheese.

Sweets and desserts have an ancient tradition here and are linked to the history of the territory and to religious and family festivities. Most common are:

International relations

Twin towns — sister cities

Molise is twinned with:

See also

Related Research Articles

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Province of Campobasso Province of Italy

The province of Campobasso is a province in the Molise region of southern Italy. Its capital is the city of Campobasso.

Province of Isernia Province of Italy

The province of Isernia is a province in the region of Molise in Italy. The provincial capital is the city Isernia and the president of the province is Alfredo Ricci. The province of Isernia has an area of 1,535.24 square kilometres (592.76 sq mi) and a population of 86,405 inhabitants as of 2016. It contains 52 comunes in the province, listed at comunes of the Province of Isernia.

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Termoli-Campobasso railway

The Termoli-Campobasso railway line is a secondary railway line in Molise, Italy.

Cuisine of Basilicata

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