If you feel like touring the “real” Europe, you might think about visiting Molise, one of the smallest regions of Italy that only gained regional status in 1963. While you are physically near Rome, this lovely region is culturally a million miles away, in part, but only in part, because of the intervening Appenines Mountains. Be sure to read the companion article on Campobasso, the capital and largest town in Molise.
Start your tour by visiting Isernia’s historic center whose central attraction is the Thirteenth Century Fraterna Fountain built from Roman and Romanesque materials and restored in 1835. Don’t miss the Museo Nazionale della Pentria that boasts a great collection of fossils, tool, and geological specimens from the nearby Palaeolithic settlement which is over a million years old. This nearby site, known as the Isernia La Pineta, was discovered in 1979 by an amateur naturalist during highway construction. Or you can view some more recent ruins, approximately 13 miles (20 kilometers) northwest of Isernia into the Volturno valley to the Abbazia di San Vincenzo.
Cosenza’s population is about seventy thousand but the nearby University adds a lot more. The area was home to the legendary Visigoth King Alaric who captured Rome in the year 410. Shortly afterwards he died and his treasure, said to be buried in the river has never been found. Cosenza has been called the Athens of Calabria. Enjoy its Castello Svevos virtually destroyed by earthquakes and lightning. Of course there is a Cathedral and several churches to visit. The new city’s open-air museum includes Saint George and the Dragon by Salvador Dalì.
Larino is home to a 12,000 seat Roman amphitheatre dating back to the First Century. You’ll enjoy the Fontana Nuova (New Fountain, or Saint Pardo's fountain), even though it still requires repairing. The city’s Eleventh-Twelfth Century Duomo (Cathedral), inaugurated in 1319, is often considered one of Italy’s finest examples of Gothic architecture. Don’t miss the Galuppi Tower (1312) across from the Cathedral or the Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace), which probably started out as a Norman castle and now hosts the municipal government.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.Click to access the original, longer article on this Italian tourist location.
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