There’s skiing for winter and seafood suppers in seaside towns for summer in the corner of Italy that “doesn’t exist”
The silence of Molise’s Pietrabbondante Amphitheater was so absolute that I could almost hear the crowds that sat there more than two thousand years ago.
After bowing to the 2,500 members of my invisible audience, I turned to see my husband, the only other person in this archeological site that was completed around 95 AD. Such a tranquil visit would be all but impossible at the ruins in Rome or Pompeii.
An absence of other tourists was a recurring theme on our trip to Molise, Italy’s second smallest region, just above Puglia. Despite its historical riches and pristine landscapes, including Pietrabbondante and Saepinum, one of the best-preserved ancient Roman ruins in Italy, it is so unknown that Italians like to joke that “Molise doesn’t exist” (it rhymes in Italian). On hearing this saying, any self-respecting Molisano retorts: “Molise exists and resists!”.
In today’s climate, a lack of visitors is a big plus. This under-the-radar region has become one of the safest choices for Britons eager for an Italian holiday (as of August 8, it had recorded eight cases in the previous seven days; 3 per 100,000). Meanwhile, some lucky travellers have secured a free stay in Molise this summer – in San Giovanni, one of its many picturesque villages.
Molise is also Italy’s youngest region, separated from the nearby Abruzzo in 1970. It doesn’t…
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