Benvenuti / Welcome to
Atina and the Val di Comino
Website, text, photos
© LM Shapcott 2009 -
Except where photos have been rightfully accredited to the photographer / owner.
Thank you to Ciociara.foto.com for giving me permission to use their photographs.
Photos marked ● are in the Public Domain
Last Update May 2016
Terelle is perched on a rocky outcrop, at a height of 380 metres, and situated between Cassino and the Val di Comino.
From 744 AD this area was owned by the monastery of Montecassino. However at the beginning of the 12th century, during a period of hostilities against the Abbey of Montecassino, Count Lando of the Aquino family, provocatively dared to built a fortress near to the Tirella forest on the eastern side of Monte Cairo.
In 1137 the primitive fortification was destroyed and burned down by Lotario III, by order of Innocent II. For protection, the survivors, migrated up to higher reaches of this territory where they set up camp on an elevated piece of terrain.
On this site the town continued to develop but its turbulent history continued with the fortifications being destroyed again on several occasions, both by battles and earthquakes. The castle or manor house which still stands at the highest point of the town, was constructed in the 13th century. The town was protected with fortified walls with four watchtowers. Two towers can still be seen today.
In 1583 Terelle was sold off to the Dukes of Sora and remained in their hands until 1796 when it was sold to the Bourbon King Ferdinand IV of Naples, together with a number of other towns: Aquino, Arce, Roccadarce, Santopadre, Roccasecca, Colle San Magno and Palazzolo, Palazzolo.
From 1799 the area was occupied by the French and during this time an imposing structure was constructed in the form of a Napoleonic Cemetery named San Egido. Napoleon had introduced a new law regarding public hygiene and the regulation of burials, which decreed that each and every corpse must be buried in a cemetery outside of the town / city walls, within 2 days of death, ie not in traditional churchyards or church vaults.
For two centuries Terelle was involved in the storage of ice, using the “Fosso della Neve”, a natural cavity in the ground where they packed snow that had fallen and covered it with insulating layers of straw and branches. Mules were employed to transport the ice down to Montecassino on a daily basis.
However, agriculture was the main industry in this mountainous area, particularly the growing of wheat, pulses and potatoes.
In the 19th century there was a migration of seasonal agricultural labour, during the colder winter months, to the warmer coastal area of Terracina. Over a period of time a number of Terellesi chose to settle there permanently.
Following WWII there was an exodus of people as Terelle was severely damaged during the battles to conquer Montecassino from the Germans. Many left for France and America and during the early 1960’s the was another wave of emigration to Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Germany and Ireland.