Isernia and its province, villages and castles

Among the most beautiful villages in Italy to visit at least once in your life is Isernia, the capital of a province of the Molise hinterland that, while presenting itself as a modern city, contains a very interesting historical and cultural heritage.

Famous for the production of lace and ceramics and for being a commercial hub between Campania, Abruzzo and Lazio, Isernia is also characterized by large green spaces and historical finds that testify to its glorious past. 

Founded by the Samnites and passed under the Roman domination in 89 BC, Isernia still retains the remains of two large temples and the theater that, even today, houses numerous and evocative summer performances. Not only evidence of Roman times: the hinterland of Isernia also shows typical medieval aspects and urban structures in Norman-Swabian style, all to be discovered. 

In addition, the city offers tourists and visitors a large number of restaurants and hotels, to allow them to relax surrounded by nature and tasting the tasty dishes. 

What to see in Isernia

The things to see in Isernia are many, so the advice is to better organize a travel itinerary even before leaving or, if possible, to stay in the city for at least two days, so you can also visit the surrounding areas. Here’s what not to miss:

Cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo

The Cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo stands on the remains of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva; built in Greco-Byzantine style, it dates back to medieval times. Over time it has undergone numerous renovations, has been renovated several times, so that the original appearance has been partially changed.

Arch of San Pietro

The Cathedral of Isernia is equipped with a bell tower called Arco di San Pietro, because of its base in the shape of an arch. In the past, the tower was very useful to the Cathedral to keep under control enemy attacks; built with a square plan in Gothic style, it is divided into four orders that also include the civic clock. 

Fontana della Fraterna

The Fraterna Fountain is not only one of the symbols of Isernia, but is also part of the most important monumental fountains in Italy; this thanks to its architectural structure, composed of a series of arches all sixth, made using the stone of some buildings in the city, whose ornaments and decorations. 

La Pineta

In Isernia it is possible to make excursions in the name of history: La Pineta is an archaeological site of the Paleolithic rediscovered by chance in 1979 and today belonging to the National Museum of the Paleolithic of Isernia. Inside, thanks to numerous studies, it has been possible to trace the first European populations. 

Monumental Complex of Santa Maria delle Monache

A very important structure in Isernia is the Monumental Complex of Santa Maria delle Monache, a former convent of Lombard origin dating back to 738 A.D. Currently, it corresponds to the headquarters of the Municipal Library and the Archaeological Museum, which houses inside a beautiful collection of artifacts and finds from archaeological sites and necropolis ranging from the Samnite era to the Middle Ages. 

Church of San Francesco

The Church of San Francesco, with the adjoining Monastery of the Conventual Fathers, was built at the behest of Saint Francis of Assisi in 1222, to which it was dedicated right after his death. To its left is the Sant’Antonio Chapel, built in 1450, a real “church in the church”. 

Palazzo Jadopi

The Jadopi Palace is known for the events related to the Unification of Italy: in 1860, in fact, Stefano Jadopi resigned from the Neapolitan Parliament to welcome the new king and, to punish him, the opponents ambushed him blinding his son. In his defense, Vittorio Emanuele sent some garibaldini who, however, were attacked by the Bourbons; the palace was set on fire and the heads of the garibaldini killed were hung on the balconies. Even today, it is said that the palace is haunted by the ghost of one of those Garibaldians.

Il Palazzotto

The Palazzotto, better known as Palazzo D’Avalos-Laurelli, was built in 1694 at the behest of Prince Diego D’Avalos, a Spanish descendant who came to Italy with Alfonso I of Aragon. Inside you can admire one of the medieval towers in the city, probably belonging in the past to a Lombard castle of which no trace has remained. 

Civic Museum of Memory and History

In Piazza Celestino V, then in the historic center, you can visit the Museum of Memory and History, a leap into the past to relive the (sad) memories related to the two world wars. The interior is divided into thematic areas: San Pietro Celestino, the bombing of 10 September 1943 and the reconstruction of Isernia.

Hermitage of Saints Cosmas and Damian

Just outside Isernia is the Hermitage of Saints Cosmas and Damian, built on the remains of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Priapus, god protector of manhood. Built in 1130, the hermitage was dedicated to the twin doctors just to emphasize how the cult of virility was important in Molise even in Christian times. 

As we have seen the cultural offer of Isernia is vast. Carefully plan your trip, see you soon with the second part of this itinerary.

Copertina: Unsplash

Write a response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your custom text © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.