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Molise - Italy's no man's land

A couple of years ago Kapok and I discovered one of the most forgotten place in Italy: Borgo Ottomila. Last month we explored one of the most underrated region in Italy: Molise.


The following post is part of an article written by Kapok, if you wanna read the full article click here. All photos are mine.

Molise - Italy's no man's land

Molise has no borders. We enter a gallery and the radio trembles; the sky is clear outside, but inside it’s raining. There is no written sign that invites us, but we know where we are.


We find the first sign of life in the Venafro Cemetery, with its terrifying view of the Casertan border. The large cement factory of San Sesto Campano stands out on the horizon, sadly known, in recent years, for the exchange of waste belonging to companies run by organized crime.

This is where eco-mafias continue to bury nuclear waste from France and Germany, while burning huge amounts of illegal, toxic garbage. Within a 15 km radius, in the Venafro Valley, there is a cement plant and two incinerators, with a total of almost 450,000 tons of waste burned annually. Morning dew tries to hide evidence of the crime, but then we realize that what we thought was fog is simply smoke and pollution.


The retired traffic-light, its bulbs long stolen, confirms the time and place: we've entered no man's land.

Paradoxically, one of Italy's highest provincial capitals is called Campobasso (Low Field), a magnetic confluence of state roads and icy winds. We get lost as tourists in the endless one-way streets, tricky labyrinths bleached by the first seasonal snows.


We find more than one grocery store selling Specialties of Puglia or mozzarella from Campania or Fruit and Vegetables from Lazio.

"How many times have you been told that the Molise does not exist?", I ask Giuseppe, who has been promoting the region privately for years, God knows why.


"Too many," he replies, "invisibility is probably the only recognized fact about our region. We want to improve traditions, blah blah, culture, blah bla, nature, etc."


He often uses the concept of community and, from time to time, he feeds us some marketing term in English.

"Public institutions are slow and third-worldish, they do not respond to the rapid changes of today's world. Since the region promoted active residency funding to repopulate the region, we have had a boom of messages on our page. They wrote to us from Russia, Mexico and the United States because they couldn't find the application form on the region's website. This is unclear, slow and lacks transparency."


In fact, most of the international news about Molise that can be found on the network relates mainly to the active residence subsidy, a state aid to repopulate the "unpopulable".