Larino, Province of Campobasso, Molise

This little town is an important producer of wheat and oil, and is also notable for the many remains from different historical periods.


  • Altitude: 340 m a.s.l
  • Territory: hilly
  • Population: about 6600 inhabitants in 2018
  • Zip/postal code: 86035
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0874
  • Patron Saint: St. Pardo on 25-27 May
  • Frazioni & Localities: Travaglini, Vizzarri.

History - Antiquity

Larino was a key center of the Frentani for its position on the borderline with Apulia, and since pre-Roman times a special worship of Mars, the war god, was here recorded. In 217 BC the Romans defeated Hannibal here. Later on it became a Roman "municipium" and its inhabitants were granted Roman citizenship, then under Augustus it was included in the Secunda Regio (Apulia). The ancient Roman town was located in the area now called Piano San Leonardo, which is an important archeological site.

History - the Middle Ages and Modern Times

Throughout the Middle Ages Larino was repeatedly sacked by the Saracens. In 1300 a devastating earthquake hit the area, and a few years later the Saracens utterly destroyed the settlement. After that, Larino was reconstructed in the present site and was ruled by a number of different feudal Lords (the Orsini, Pappacoda, Carafa, Sangro).

In 1656 a terrible plague exterminated the population: many thousands of people died and the only 373 survivors decided to abandon the town, but thanks to the energy of their bishop Guseppe Catalano they came back and the population started to grow again.

What to see

  • The Townhall, previously the mansion of the Carafa and Sangro lords, with a solar clock coming from the Roman ruins of Larinum, inside also Roman tombstones and mosaics of the 3rd century AD.
  • The ancient Historical Center, with medieval mansions, alleys and towers, which create a very special atmosphere.
  • The Ara Frentana, just outside the town, near the railway station, where many fragments of the ancient Larinum are collected.
  • The church of San Francesco, with beautiful art works inside: in the dome, a fresco with Mary crowned by Jesus, by Paolo Gamba (1717-1782) from Ripabottoni; over the door a painting with Jesus driving the merchants out of the Temple, probably by Francesco Solimena (1657-1747) from Canale.
  • The Cathedral of the Assunta and San Pardo, a gothic church completed in 1319, with a magnificent portal made by Francesco Petrini from Lanciano, surmounted by a lunette with a high-relief. Over the portal, a giant rosewindow in the Apulian style. The interior, divided into 3 naves and restored to its pristine austere forms in the 1950's, houses beautiful art pieces, among them a silver bust of St. Pardo and low-reliefs in carved wood telling the story of the translation of the Body of San Pardo from Lucera to Larino in the year 842. Right of the facade rises a massive bell-tower in bricks.

Events and Festivities

  • 15 May, the Feast of San Primiano, with a procession of children carrying colored standards
  • 25-27 May, the Sagra of San Pardo, with a parade of decorated waggons drawn by oxen.
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Provinces of Molise
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