Almost equally divided between mountains and hills, the lands of Molise, land of villages, small towns and sea. That Adriatic sea on which one of its main cities, Termoli, is also the main port. From here begins the discovery route in the heart of this often unfairly forgotten region.
It is the Sannitica highway, which stretches out in the countryside from the coast to the heart of the region, leading us to Larino. Before leaving the car and enjoying the historic center, it is worth going a little over the village, continuing and stopping along the road leading to Casacalenda, to enjoy the panorama of ancient Larino surrounded by hills and dominated by the cathedral bell tower.
The Cathedral of San Pardo, with its beautiful façade with a beautiful portal decorated with statues, floral decorations and rich capitals, and a beautiful 13-rose rosette with precious paintings of the 14th century, is the most characteristic feature of the village. Also to see the Diocesan Museum located in the Bishop's Palace, while visiting the city you will appreciate other interesting buildings including the Ducal Palace, what was once the ancient castle. The Roman Amphitheater, dating back to the 1st century AD, with its elliptical shape, and the Villa Zappone Archaeological Park, where a Roman spa complex and a precious mosaic are found, represent the oldest Larino. A delightful stop to enjoy a good dish of cavatelli at the pork sauce and to taste the nocino, typical sweet molisano liquor with a tenderly bitter aftertaste.
On the way to Oratino, the second stage of the weekend, we cross hills and small villages to the capital of Campobasso. A dozen kilometers divides the latter from the delightful center of Oratino, located at almost eight hundred meters of altitude, overlooking a stretch of the valley of Biferno and from which one enjoys one of the most picturesque views of the region.
Among the centers of Molise with the most important handicraft tradition, witnessed by countless details of work by stonecutters, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, painters and glassmakers, Oratino was home to Sergio Castellitto's film "Do not move". From the urban layout characterized by narrow narrow streets of stone that intersect disorganized, Oratino is a succession of squares and historic buildings, including the fifteenth-century Palazzo Ducale and the remains of the medieval tower from which were guarded the ancient tratturi, paths of the flocks descending from the mountains. Authentic treasure of the old town is the almost millenary church of Santa Maria Assunta with the 19th century silver ostensius and interesting frescoes. Oratino is also excellent cuisine; not to miss a good dish of "laganelle and beans", typical handmade lasagna, and a taste of "cacio and ova with sausage", made of goat cheese and eggs cooked in sausage sauce.
The last stop of the weekend in Molise is Frosolone, just over half an hour from Oratino, already in the province of Isernia. A range of agro-food products including vaccine cheeses such as scamorza and caciocavallo, and sheep such as pecorino, but also crafts with the ancient tradition of scissors and knives, Frosolone is immersed in a zone characterized by large areas where to admire the spectacle of cows and horses to pasture, but also from areas where dominate imposing rock formations, the destination of climbing lovers.
A tangle of alleys, small squares and stone houses are the cornerstone of the 13th century church of Santa Maria Assunta, and are animated by craft shops where steel and iron are still made, especially for the production of knives and scissors. You can not miss a visit to the Museum of sharp irons and blades, scissors and knives of various shapes and sizes are kept, witnessing the historic local craftsmanship.
Before leaving this corner of Molise, entangled with traditions and genuineness, let us give a taste of the extraordinary local cheeses. Pecorino, scamorza and caciocavallo are a triumph of flavors and emotions before resuming the way back, the one that brings us back to the sea.