Glocale Rivista molisana di storia e scienze sociali


Ilaria Zilli

Economic routes and local identity since the 18th century until now

The natural isolation of medieval and modern Molise, as a result of its territorialposition and landscape, was considered by historians, geographers and by its inhabitants sometimes the distinguishing mark of the region. It is an ideal isolation more than a real one, as proved by the constant relationships with the bordering areas, in despite of the difficulty and disjointedness of the communication network.
Since the beginning of the modern age, in spite of this “isolation”, periods o economic growth and decrease in Molise follow one another. This is the evidence of a continuous integration with the areas of the South and of the entire peninsula as of a constant interaction between the different “souls” of the region (mountains and hills, sheep-breeding and agriculture in the past, tourism and industry nowadays). Relations that are not always easy or equal and frequently broken by natural calamities or more often by human choices.
The final result that comes out from the reconstruction of the economic history of Molise since the 18th century until now as a way of proving the existence of a possible local identity of the region, is not so exciting. The performances of the local economy of the last three centuries were not so brilliant and, in despite of the presence in the region of industrial complexes of some relevance, hinterlands, hill and sea areas are focused on an economic growth model mostly based on the traditional cereal-growing.