Molise is the youngest Italian region, since it was established in 1963, when the region "Abruzzi e Molise" was split into two regions, which, however, still today maintain a common identity both geographically and in their historical and traditional heritage.
The region is administratively divided into two Provinces, Campobasso, the regional capital, and Isernia, and comprises 136 municipalities, most of them very small, but each unique and worth seeing.
After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD Molise was invaded by the Goths (535 AD) and then by the Languebards (or Lombards) in 572, and annexed to the Dukedom of Benevento. A very troubled period began with the invasions of the Saracens, that in 860 AD destroyed Isernia, Telese, Alife, Sepino, Boiano and Venafro.
By the 10th century there were 9 countdoms: Venafro, Larino, Trivento, Bojano, Isernia, Campomarino, Termoli, Sangro, Pietrabbondante.
In 1095 the most powerful of them, Bojano, came under the rule of the Norman Hugo I of Molhouse, who most probably gave his name to the region; his successor Ugo II was Count of Molise in 1144. In the 16th century Molise was included to the Province of Capitanata (Apulia) and in 1806 became an autonomous Province, included in the Abruzzi region.
In the 19th century there was a general worsening of the economic conditions of the population, and this gave rise, under the newly established Kingdom of Italy (1861), to brigandage and a massive emigration not only abroad but also to more industrial Italian areas. A heavy destruction took place in WW2, until finally the Allied Forces were able to land at Termoli, in September 1943.
Molise is mostly mountainous and the economy, in the past centuries highly dependent on the transit of shepherds and their flocks from Abruzzo to Apulia, still relies heavily on agriculture and livestock raising, though food and garment industries are undergoing a remarkable development.