Pettoranello del Molise, Province of Isernia, Molise

Against a very picturesque background, the ancient borough enjoys the view of the castles of Carpinone and Pesche in the distance, and the whole Isernia plain, as far as the Santuario of Castelpetroso. Nature lovers greatly enjoy excursions into the fine forests surrounding the area.


  • Altitude: 736 m a.s.l
  • Territory: mountainous
  • Population: about 440 inhabitants in 2018
  • Zip/postal code: 86090
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0865
  • Patron Saint: St. Sebastiano, celebrated on January 20
  • Frazioni & Localities: Fonte Sant'Angelo, Pantaniello.

History - Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Archeological findings showed that the place was inhabited in pre-Roman times by Samnite peoples, and three milestones of the Roman period also confirmed that Pettoranello was probably a garrison or resting station between Isernia and Bojano. A document of Pope Pasquale II in 1104 mentioned the center as belonging to the monastery of San Vincenzo al Volturno.

In the 12th century the castle was probably built by the Lombard Counts of Isernia, then later the place passed under the Normans of Molise, to be then given in 1269 by Charles Anjou to Goffredo from Faenza, and some decades later to Giovanni Scotto. Among the many feudal lords that followed there were Tommaso Capuano, Filippo Sanfromondo, Iacopo Cantelmo the Count of Popoli, then in the 15th century the Caldora family, who lost it in 1442 after he rebelled against Alfonso d’Aragona.

History - Modern Times

In 1531 Pettoranello was purchased by Antonio d’Afflitto and finally passed by marriage to the Caracciolo princes of Avigliano who kept it up to 1807.

During the struggles for the unity of Italy a very tragic episode took place, the so called slaughter of the Legione Matese, which was a legion of Garibaldi followers under the leadership of Francesco Niello. The Legion had invaded the area of Pettoranello killing men, women and children and destroying Roccamandolfi and Sant’Agapito.

In Pettoranello the population was organized against them by the priest, weapons were supplied by the Isernia Sanfedisti (followers of the Bourbon king) and on the night of 20 October 1860 the Garibaldi legion was attacked and defeated. The corpses of the victims were horribly mutilated and hanged along the road to Carpinone.

The repression of the Savoy army was ruthless, hundreds were shot, and the relationship between the new Italian State and the Isernia area were greatly compromised.

What to see

  • The church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo, 18th century
  • Chapel of San Sebastiano
  • The Villa Princeton.

Events and Festivities

  • San Sebastiano, 20 January, when cheeses and livestock are donated and then sold on auction.
  • Sant’Antonio da Padova, 13 june, when a parade of decorated horses is held.

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Provinces of Molise
Molise region
Surnames in the Provinces of Molise