Molise mōlēˈzā [key], region (1991 pop. 330,900), 1,714 sq mi (4,439 sq km), S central Italy, bordering on the Adriatic Sea in the east. Campobasso is the capital of the region, which is divided into the provinces of Campobasso and Isérnia. Mostly mountainous, Molise is crossed by the Apennines; there is a narrow coastal strip. The main occupation in the generally poor region is farming; cereals, pigs, and sheep are raised. Molise's few industries include the processing of food and the manufacture of clothing. Molise was conquered by the Romans in the 4th cent. b.c. After the fall of Rome it came under the Lombard duchy of Benevento (6th–11th cent.). From the 12th cent., it shared the history of Abruzzi.

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