In the Norman period the current territory of Molise was divided into two
counties: the inland county (Contea di Molise, 1055) and the coastal one (Contea di Loritello, 1061), whose boundaries have not yet been clearly
identified. The difficulty originates from the fact that the estates of the various Norman lords did not constitute compact political units but had an irregular
“leopard-skin” pattern. In the years when the central power and feudal ties became stronger, new administrative units called comestabulia were added to
the pre-existing divisions, though it should be remembered that boundaries changed rapidly with time.
Loritello County included the estates that lay between the river Trigno and a portion of the Capitanata lands (Bovino, Montilari, Dragonara), though the
boundaries were rather unstable. In 1061, Godfrey D’Altavilla, first Earl of the family that later ruled Loritello (now called Rotello), occupied part of the
Chieti Mark and, from 1064, Robert I pushed further north and became lord of the Abbey of Saint Clement in Casauria.
Molise County corresponded more or less to the present Province of Isernia. Its territory was important because it controlled the Matese mountain passes. The
Serracapriola estate marked the eastern boundary between the two counties.
With Frederick II of Swabia the two counties lost their identity : Molise county was administered as part of the “Terra di Lavoro” (Work Land) after the great
revolt of 1223-1226, while the coastal county was annexed by Capitanata.