Molise and Abruzzo were one region called Abruzzi until 1963. Both are sparsely populated, mountainous regions prone to earthquakes, and both have always been outside the mainstream of Italian affairs.

Molise is very much a part of southern Italy. Its landscape is gentler than Abruzzo, its mountains less rugged, and its people somewhat poorer. 

While many villages and towns have been modernized to withstand earthquakes, and smooth new roads wind through rolling fields of grain, much of the region still seems to be struggling out of its past.

Molise still has a close affinity for traditional festivals and rituals, and tourism is low-key. 

The tratturi –grassy paths throughout Molise historically used for grazing and the mass movement of sheep, goats and cattle from the plain to the mountains – are on the Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The tratturi are 122 yards wide and are gaining a new life as mountainbike and horseback riding trails, served by farmhouse guesthouses and stables along the way.

Molise still has a scattering of low-key Roman ruins. Saepinum is Italy's most complete example of a Roman provincial town – and well off the beaten tourist track.

The seaside town of Termoli and the hiking trails in the Matese mountains offer possibilities for outdoor activity — on a clear day, from the trail on Monte La Gallinola you can see the from the Bay of Naples to the Adriatic.

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