Human settlements existed in Termoli since pre-historical times, as showed by the presence of ancient necropolises. The Romans patricians had villae in the nearby coast.
The first documentation of today's city dates to the presence of the ancestor of the current cathedral, documented in the 10th century. Termoli was a Lombard county until the arrival of the Normans, under which flourished and expanded. Later devastations meant a period of decay which lasted until around 1770, when the local nobles were permitted by the Kings of Naples to build new edifices along the coast and in direction of the countryside.
Termoli became the centre of one of the larger tank battles of the Italian campaign over the period October 2 to October 6, 1943. On the night of October 2/3 during Operation Devon the 2nd Special Service Brigade, which comprised No. 3 Commando, 40 (Royal Marine) Commando and the Special Raiding Squadron landed by sea then cleared the town of most of its German defenders. During the first day these forces set up road blocks around the town and were joined by British infantry advancing across the Biferno river to the south-east. They did not know that the 16th Panzer Division was on its way to create a new defensive line. On October 4 British reinforcements arrived by sea and land, but tanks were unable to cross the river until engineers completed a bridge for heavy traffic. On October 5 the Panzers attacked, pushing much of the British line back in disarray. At the end of the day they were only a short distance from the town. However, further reinforcements arrived at the port, and the engineers completed their bridge allowing tanks to cross. On October 6 the Germans renewed their attack, but it soon stalled and the British, with Canadian tanks from the Three Rivers Regiment (12e Régiment blindé du Canada) in support, counter-attacked. They were successful and by October 7 the Germans were pulling back to their next line of defence.
Termoli is rapidly becoming one of the most important centres in the Molise. The latter region suffered from depopulation in the years after World War II and there has been a migration from the internal hill towns to the coastal resort. Its status as the pre-eminent resort site is now being challenged by Campomarino, about five kilometeres southward.
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Abruzzo Airport (PSR) 82.8 km
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