Roman ruins of Saepinum

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Top choice in Molise

One of Molise’s hidden treasures, the Roman ruins of Saepinum are among the best preserved and least visited in the country. Unlike Pompeii and Ostia Antica, which were both major ports, Saepinum was a small provincial town of no great importance. It was originally established by the Samnites but the Romans conquered it in 293 BC, paving the way for an economic boom in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Some 700 years later, it was sacked by Arab invaders.

The walled town retains three of its four original gates and its two main roads, the cardo maximus and the decamanus. Highlights include the forum, basilica and theatre – where you'll find the Museo della Città e del Territorio.

It's not easy to reach Saepinum by public transport, but the bus from Campobasso to Sepino (€1.20, six daily on weekdays) generally stops near the site at Altilia, although it's best to ask the driver.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Molise attractions

1. Museo della Città e del Territorio

0.07 MILES

Housed in converted farm buildings above Saepinum's Roman theatre, this small museum displays artefacts unearthed from the site and surrounding territory.

2. Museo Sannitico

8.98 MILES

Samnite ceramics found in Castello Monforte are now on show at the small Museo Sannitico, along with weapons, armour and sculptures from local…

3. San Bartolomeo

9.03 MILES

This classic Romanesque church in Campobasso dates to the 13th century.

4. San Giorgio

9.04 MILES

Built over the ruins of a pagan temple, and with a history that stretches back a millennium, St George's is probably Campobasso's oldest church. Fifteenth…

5. Castello Monforte

9.07 MILES

At the top of a steep tree-lined avenue sits this squat, quadrangular tower, much of which was built in the 15th and 16th centuries after the original…

6. Museo Paleolitico di Isernia

22.41 MILES

Built around the adjacent 730,000-year-old archaeological site of La Pineta, this intriguing museum stands next to a pavilion that protects the site of…

7. Museo Civico Isernia

22.94 MILES

World War II doesn’t get a lot of coverage in Italy, which makes this small museum chronicling the events of 10 September 1943, when Isernia was heavily…

8. Samnite Theatre-Temple Complex

24.2 MILES

About 30km northeast of Isernia, outside Pietrabbondante, the remains of a 3rd-century-BC Samnite theatre-temple complex reward a visit, as much as…