CAMPOBASSO, THE HEART OF MOLISE

The chief town can boast Longobard origins. The province of Campobasso is rich in small villages, situated on the mountains and characterized by the medieval fascination.

History

The origins of Campobasso go back to the Longobard Age, even if these are still uncertain; province and region chief town, Campobasso is archiepiscopal seat too. The ancient town is situated on a downhill, where, on its top, the ancient castle rises. The earliest Latin name “Campus Vassorum” reminds to a place where the vassals lived. “Campo (in) basso” is another etymology and just here, on the down side of the field, the new town was founded in 1814 by Gioachin Murat. Campobasso is situated on the upper side of Biferno basin, and on the background there are the Sannio and Matese mountains. The main activities of Campobasso are the manufacture of blades, like knives and scissors, which follows an ancient tradition, already known during the 14th century, and the construction of the machines, still used during the traditional Misteri fair.

The city and its monuments

In the town heart there are two main squares: Piazza della Prefettura and Piazza Pepe, with a Cathedral of the year 1829, that features a neoclassical facade and a bell tower with a spire covered with majolica tiles. Following Corso Vittorio Emanuele you reach Piazza della Vittoria, where you can find the Museum of cribs, featuring models starting from the 18th century. Among the religious monuments is see worthy the church of Sant’Antonio Abate, with a simple portal from the late Renaissance Age and some Baroque altars, canvas and frescoes from the 17th century. The San Leonardo church of the 13th century, that of San Bartolomeo of the 14th century and the church of San Giorgio of the 12th century, with its bell tower, mullioned window with two lights and a sculpted lunette over the portal, are situated in the old town centre. This town side, situated on the downhill, preserves a medieval arrangement with ancient houses, narrow streets and lots of steps. The castle dominates the whole town: the fortress with majestic town walls, angular towers, a great entry and courtyard, has probably a Longobard origin, but it was rebuilt between the 1456-63 and today it is partly a war memorial for died soldiers.

The geographical area

Near the chief town there are some of the most characteristic villages of Molise: Ferrazzano, situated on a rocky hill, features a castle of the 15th century; Baranello with its Civic Museum rich in italic and roman findings, bronzes, ivories, ceramics of the Sanniti, majolica and porcelains of Perù, China and Europe; Putrella Tifernina on a hill dominating the Biferno Valley, shows an isolated roman church of the 12th century; enjoying a panoramic position Cercemaggiore is not far from the Saraceno Mountain, where the rests of a Sanniti’s settlements were found. Termoli is see worthy too: the nature encounters here the typical beauty of a resort on the Riviera, it is rich in resources, history and culture. Sea, gastronomy and fun represent a further offer for a land full of history.