Home Page


Termoli, Molise

One glimpse of the unique ambience of Termoli, and the visitor will wonder how a city with such a stretch of untainted coastline and seaside splendor remains so surprisingly small and uncluttered by tourists. Currently the largest and most important littoral resort town in Molise, Termoli consists of a newer, more modern zone and a contained ancient village, referred to as "Borgo Vecchio." Perched high up on a rocky peak, Borgo Vecchio is comprised mainly of local sailors' ancient homes. These buildings encircle the city's Duomo (cathedral), erected in the 13th century, which contains the relics of St. Basso (for whom the cathedral is named). Termoli can thank its location along the Adriatic Sea for its sizeable tourist development and small-time industries. Among its other significant features, Molise sustains a Fiat automobile factory (built during the 1950s), a university for Tourism, a fishing port (in use for centuries), and ferry connections to the nearby Tremiti islands.

Archeological evidence supports the theory that Termoli and its surrounding area have been inhabited since ancient times. Stemming from the Latin word "thermae," meaning "baths," Termoli's name suggests that at one time Roman spas existed in the area (though, so far, one has yet to be discovered). Plagued by periodic Turkish and Ottoman invasions, the city appears to have battled pirate attacks throughout its early history. When the Roman Empire fell, the population most probably sought refuge at the site of the Borgo Vecchio. During the Middle Ages, the city (then a fiefdom) passed from family to family, a treasured feather in the cap of whichever ruling noble prevailed at the time.

Besides the beach—which is divided into North and South sectors—the Termoli tourist should visit the Cathedral of San Basso, where the relics of the eponymous saint, a bishop of Nice, have been kept since (roughly) the 10th century. Also there, one finds the relics of St. Timoteo, a disciple of St. Paul, whose remains were apparently brought to the Cathedral during the time of the Crusades. Termoli's impressive, 12th century Swabian Castle hosted the city's garrison and, from its advantageous position, once commanded the Adriatic, protecting citizens from oncoming pirate attacks.

Trains connect to Termoli from nearby Pescara, the home of a relatively large airport connecting to other major Italian and European cities. Ferry service from Termoli operates only during the months from June through September.


Copyright 2005 © Italian Cooking and Living