Campobasso, Province of Campobasso, Molise

Campobasso is the region capital city since 1806, when Giuseppe Napoleone established the Contado di Molise. Once world-famous for its cutlery craftsmanship, the city is divided into an old town, with the majestic Castello Monforte and its six towers and an archaeological museum, and a "new town" built from the 16th century outside the city walls. [Texts courtesy of John Armellino].


  • Altitude: 701 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 50,000 inhabitants in 2012
  • Zip/postal code: 86100
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0874
  • Patron Saint: St. Giorgio, celebrated on 23rd April.

Administrative division

Frazioni & Localities: Santo Stefano, Calvario, Camposarcone, Casello Ferroviario, Casino Barone, Cerreto, Colle Arso, Colle dell'Api, Colle dell'Orso, Colle Longo, Coste di Oratino, Feudo, Fossato Cupo, Lupara, Mascione, Ospedale, Polese, San Giovanni dei Gelsi, San Giovanni in Golfo, San Nicola Delle Fratte, Santa Maria de Foras, San Vito Inferiore, San Vito Superiore, Tappino.


A settlement existed in Samnite times on the hill that rises behind the present city, most probably a fortress in control of the shepherds' track Matese-Cortile. The first historical information goes back to Lombard times, when there were two centers: "Campus de Prata", where tha castle rose, and "Campus Vassus", which later changed into "Campus Bassus" (meaning lower territory, since it was below the castle). The feudal lords that followed in the century were the Monforte-Gambatesa (1300(?) -1495) with Nicola II who ordered the building of the castle, the Di Capua (1495 - 1559), Gonzaga (1559 - 1638), Vitagliano (1638 - 1639), Carafa (1639 - 1740), Romano (1740 - 1806). In 1806 feudalism was abolished and Campobasso was later made capital of the Province of Molise. During the Second World War since September 1943 was occupied by Canadian forces for two years and for a time was nicknamed "Canada Town" or "Maple Leaf City".

Events and Festivities

  • The most interesting folk tradition is the Holy Week representation called "Misteri"

What to see

  • The Monforte Castle, located on the top of Sant'Antonio Mountain, dates back to the 13th century.
  • The Archaeological Museum of the Samnite People, hosted in a former medieval building.
  • The ancient historical centre, where many houses and palaces are being restored in the original form. In the gardens of the city palaces there are many rare plant species.
  • The Cathedral (14th century) dedicated to Santa Maria Maggiore, built by Andrea di Capua in 1504; destroyed by the earthquake of 1805, was rebuilt between 1815 and 1829.
  • The church of Santa Maria del Monte (11th century), located on the top of the Sant'Antonio Mountain in front of the Monforte Castle. Its original name was "Santa Maria de supra" or "de Campobasso". In 1525 it took the name of Santa Maria Maggiore until 1829, when the Cathedral was called with the same name. The frescoes inside are by the local painter Amedeo Trivisonno (1944-1945). The bell tower was added in 1970 and it is 26 mt high.
  • The church of San Giorgio (10th century), which lost its original aspect due to the earthquakes and following reconstruction.
  • The church of San Bartolomeo (11th century), today no more a place of worship.
  • The church of San Leonardo, dating back to the 13th century, but modified during the 14th century and restored after the earthquake of 1456; the entrance stairways were substituted in the early 20th century.
  • The church of Santa Maria della Croce (15th century) located in contrada Chiancone, it was destroyed by earthquakes, once in 1348 and a second time in 1805; the present architecture is the result of the reconstruction of 1930-1936. The dome, unique in Campobasso, is probably the most beautiful in the whole region of Molise.
  • The church of Sant'Antonio Abate, built in 1572 just outside the medieval walls in "new" town in the lower fertile plain, with a fine late-Renaissance portal, became the richest church in the city.

Where to stay

Useful Links

ItalyHeritage on Facebook
Family History
Genealogy ResearchNeed help in your research?
Contact us with details and priorities.
Provinces of Molise
Molise region
Surnames in the Provinces of Molise