Located in south-eastern Italy, Molise is famous for one thing: it doesn’t exist. Well, technically, it does exist. As one of Italy’s 20 official regions, Molise has a status equal to Tuscany, Lombardy or Piedmont. It holds regional and national elections. It borders the regions of Abruzzo, Puglia, Lazio and Campania, all very real places. So why do Italians like to pretend that Molise doesn’t exist? The “Molise Conspiracy” has become something of a cultural phenomenon within Italy. The region went from obscurity to becoming Italy’s national joke. Once part of the Abruzzo e Molise region, Molise separated from Abruzzo in 1963 to become Italy’s youngest, and least known region. Perhaps the split was a mistake and they should reunite with Abruzzo.

But, unlike most other parts of Italy, in Molise you can still find life as it used to be, unchanged for centuries. Molise is a treasure trove of nature and culture. Italy’s last great unknown is where soft green hills give way to scattered villages and vast mountains. Molise is a blissful mix of uncrowded beaches, atmospheric villages and mountain towns. Molise will never be Tuscany, and that’s ok. Without any tourism to interrupt life, tradition reigns supreme. Molise is one of the last authentic places in Italy.

The Small List

Best Restaurants in Exceptional Towns

San Pietro Avellana

Il Boccaccio – Il Boccaccio is located in San Pietro Avellana, a small town with the biggest heart. SPA is a renowned village of truffles. The charming restaurant is modern, warm and welcoming. The local dishes are creative, prepared to perfection, and are accompanied by wonderful Molise wines. The attention to detail is extraordinary. The local ingredients are top. In addition, the pizzas are innovative and fresh. The talented chef, Ermes, is a visionary. And his wife, Roberta, is attentive and graceful. The family run restaurant is full of love and passion. Moreover, this dining experience is not to be missed.


Locanda Mammi Ristorante – Chef Stefania opened Locanda Mammi using the flavors and aromas of her land on the outskirts of Agnone. Her gastronomic vision was perfected at the Accademia Niko Romito in Abruzzo. Tradition and innovation uniquely come together on every delicious dish.


La Taverna Ristorante – La Taverna is a lovely and traditional restaurant in the town of Vastogirardi. It is very informal and very welcoming. Taverna is the perfect rest stop while cycling through the hills and mountains of the Alto Molise. +39 0865 836156


Bas & Co Pizzeria – Bas & Co is family run pizzeria which began with the idea of ​​producing beer. All of their raw materials are strictly artisanal and made in Molise. Ancient grains and flours are mixed to perfection. Adding water, sourdough, salt, oil and allowing it to mature never less than 120 hours gives rise to the most savory, fragrant and light dough.

Best Bars

Bar H – Carne alla brace! Grilled meat and more! The bar is located at the entrance of the Alto Molise Reserve of Monte Miglio. The Bar serves coffee, beer and refreshments throughout the day. A perfect spot to relax after a bike ride or a hike through the mountains of Molise!

La Bottega degli Angeli Golosi – The best bar in San Pietro Avellana and the nicest owners, Guido and Sonia. The espresso is outstanding. The homemade pastries are divine. La Bottega is the place for a lively aperitivo hour. In addition, they are passionately dedicated to producing the finest local truffle products with total respect for nature.

Komby Pub – Komby, located in Agnone, is a very authentic Irish pub entirely built by the owner. The interior decor is almost all in wood and retro in style. There is a wide range of fine beers, and, of course, a perfect aperol spritz.

Best Wineries

Di Majo Norante Winery – The Masseria Di Majo Norante is located in the countryside of Molise, north of the Gargano promontory. Grapes are picked by hand from ancient vines such as Aglianico, Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Tintilia. Production is kept at low yields to insure the best quality possible. In addition, the Di Majo family is dedicated to practicing environmentally sound agriculture.

Azienda Agricola Cianfagna Winery – From the vineyard to the bottle in the lovely mountains of Molise, the Cianfagna family has a deep respect and love for their land. Over the years, family traditions have been enhanced and innovated. For instance, the level of sulfites present in Cianfagna’s wines is less than that allowed in organic farming. The result is high quality wine from grapes that are exclusively produced by the family.

World’s Best Cheese

Caseificio Di Nucci – The Di Nucci family of cheese makers and shepherds has been producing cheeses since 1662. The secrets of the art of cheese making have been handed down from father to son for eleven generations. The ancient traditions begin in their dairy farm in the village of Agnone, in Alto Molise. The Di Nucci’s produce gourmet cheeses with love. They use raw milk and a unique stretching technique. The caseificio is renown for their aged Caciocavallo di Agnone. The awards are numerous. Furthermore, cheese enthusiasts are welcome to share in their tradition with tours and tastings.

Outstanding Gift Shop

Creare – Creare is THE place to go to for everyday household goods and services. Hardware, flowers, gardening supplies, electrical material, plumbing, necessities for the mountains, household articles, gifts and more are in bountiful supply. Above all, the owners, Antonella, Marco, and their beautiful family, will greet you with open arms.

Important Museums

Museo Civico Archeologico – The Civic Museum of Arts, Crafts, Costume and Archeology and is located in San Pietro Avellana. It showcases the ancestry and culture of a village destroyed by bombings in World War II. The recreation of the culture is a journey through time. Vintage photos, period costumes from the 16th century, furniture and everyday household items on display are very unique. Tools of ancient craftsman are shown, as well as classic sporting equipment and more.

Campane Marinelli Bell Foundry – The Pontificia Fonderia Marinelli is an ancient factory for bells which has been operating in Agnone for nearly a millennium. It ranks as one of the oldest companies and family businesses in the world, where the Marinelli family has run the foundry for the last 1000 years. Bells of artistic excellence and perfect sound are created for destinations around the globe. In addition, expert guides and family members lead visits through the museum and the foundry itself where you will also learn that in order to get a perfect sound from a bell, it is necessary to follow strict rules of sizes and thickness. The Marinelli family has a close relationship with Popes of the twentieth century starting with Pius XI who honored it with the Pontifical Patent, to Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, who visited the foundry on March 19, 1995.

Historic Museum of Copper – The “Francesco Gerbasi” Museum of Copper is one of the last places where you can learn about the ancient art of copper making. The journey is impressive and includes many fascinating details and historical facts about the various stages of processing copper. Original tools collected over centuries are on display.

Places to See

Pietrabbondante – The town sits on the top of a hill and is dominated by huge rocks towering up above it. Undeniably, the sight is dramatic. Appropriately, the name Pietrabbondante means ‘stones in abundance’! The beautiful mountainous Molise countryside surrounds the town and the views from here are stunning.

Capracotta – Capracotta is a renowned ski resort located in the heart of upper Molise at an altitude of 4,662 feet. It is one of the most beautiful and highest mountain villages in the southern Apennines. On March 5, 2015, an amazing 101 inches of snow fell in Capracotta in an eighteen hour period. It is a world record for the greatest snowfall ever recorded in the span of 24 hours.

Termoli – Termoli is a resort town with long golden beaches, historic fortifications, and low key charm on the Adriatic Coast. It is very popular with Italian tourists in the summer but, like the rest of Molise, relatively undiscovered by foreign tourists. The narrow winding streets of the old town are amongst the narrowest in Europe.

Lago di Castel San Vincenzo – The artificial reservoir with turquoise waters is host to multiple activities including fishing, water sports, camping and more. The Mountain peaks of the Mainarde and sandy shores surround the small jewel of Molise.

Abbey of San Vincenzo al Volturno – The ancient Abbey, located near Lago di Castel San Vincenzo, was founded in the 8th century. Over time, it became one of the most important monastic complexes in Europe. The current monastery houses a group of 8 Benedictine sisters who have dedicated themselves to restoring monastic life in the Abbey.

Alto Molise Riserva MAB – The program and parks have the primary purpose of maintaining a long lasting balance between man and his environment or biosphere. The UNESCO site and nature reserve encompasses two forests. The network of trails for discovering the magnificent biodiversity of Alto Molise is immense. Popular activities include trekking, mountain biking and picnics. The reserve hosts nearly 25,000 visitors every year.

Things to Do

Montedimezzo Spirits & Fruits – In the small village of San Pietro Avellana, elixirs and digestifs are made from ancient Apennine recipes. The artisanal producer, Serena, has a thirty year family history in the food and beverage industry. She uses only high quality raw materials for her creations. The Ratafia, Genziana, Liquirizia, and Duetto all have multiple beneficial properties and are rich in taste.

Royal Palace of Caserta – The Reggia di Caserta is the largest palace in the world. Remarkably, larger than the Palace of Versailles. The Bourbon king Charles III of Napoli decided to make Caserta the site of his royal residence and to imitate the Palace of Versailles. Luigi Vanvitelli designed the palace. He is one of the greatest Italian architects of the 18th century. The excellent local hunting and the vulnerability of his palazzo in Napoli made Caserta an ideal location. The palace has 5 floors, 1,200 rooms, including 24 state apartments, 1742 windows, 34 staircases, 1026 fireplaces, a large library, and a theater. In addition, it is one of the last great European gardens. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Caseficio Di Nucci
Campane Marinelli Bell Foundry
Campane Marinelli Bell Foundry
Lake of Castel San Vincenzo
Abbey of San Vincenzo al Volturno