Molise's principal river is the Biferno, which lends its name to the region's most prestigious wine, produced in the province of Campobasso.
The river, which was known as the Tifernus in ancient times, began to be called Biferno in the Middle Ages. Some historians argue that the name Biferno is due to the fact that the stream rises from two separate springs in the district of Boiano. According to legend, the first Samnites, led to the area by a sacred bull ("bue"), settled near the river's sources at Boiano, which derives its name from the widely venerated animal.
Campobasso is situated between the basins of the Biferno and the Fortore at an altitude of 700 meters. The city is quite striking in appearance, for in the middle rises a hill on which is perched the Longobard castle of Monforte. The historic center is arranged in a semicircle around the hill. The medieval heart of Campobasso is a warren of narrow streets in which, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Festival of the Mysteries is staged. The observance is medieval in origin, consisting of representations of scenes described in sacred texts.
In its course, the Biferno flows through a large part of the territory of Molise and creates such appealing features of the landscape as Lake Guardialfiera. The fields of the southern part of the region produce wheat and wine. The vineyards that yield the grapes used in making Biferno Bianco, Rosso and Rosato are located in the zone neighboring the district of Campobasso. The altitudes of the vineyards are strictly regulated. For the white version, the vines can not be grown at altitudes superior to 600 meters above sea level. The limit for the red and rosŽ types is set at 500 meters. Biferno Rosso is produced principally from Montepulciano grapes. The variety was introduced into the Abruzzi at the beginning of the 19th century. The Bianco is made for the most part from Trebbiano Toscano, while the Rosato is obtained from the same grapes as the Rosso but vinified off the skins.