Molise (pronounced [moˈliːze]) is a region of Southern Italy, the second smallest of the regions. It was formerly (until 1963) part of the region of Abruzzi e Molise (with Abruzzo) and now a separate entity. The region covers 4,438 km² and has a population of about 300,000. Molise is the newest Italian region, since it was established in 1963, when the region Abruzzi e Molise was split in two. It became effective only in 1970. Economy Though there is a large Fiat plant (Termoli), the industrial sector is dominated by the building industry with small and medium-sized firms spread widely throughout the region. Another important industry is food processing: pasta, meat, milk products, oil and wine are the traditional products of the region. In the services sector the most important industries are distribution, hotels and catering, followed by transport and communications, banking and insurance. With few exceptions, in all sectors firms are small, and this explains the difficulties encountered when marketing products on a national scale. After the earthquake of 2002 some of the communities in Molise became the focus of a generous government policy which contributed state money to individuals willing to make their homes more resistant to seismic activity. Larino, near Termoli, was a particular beneficiary of this policy and the town, already one of the most beautiful in the province, has been transformed. It was policy to return the houses to their historical colours and, based on careful research, the structures were painted in a range of soft pastel tones. As a result Larino has become an important centre for tourism and scores of expatriates from all over the world are returning to live in the revived centro storico (antique centre). International tourism is becoming more evident largely as a result of the international flights from other European states, Great Britain, and North America which enter Pescara not far to the north in Abruzzo. The tourists are attracted by large expanses of unspoiled beaches, a relative lack of congestion, and the gentle pace of life.