History - There is a large amount of evidence of the presence of man on the Tremiti islands from ancient times. The remains of Neolithic villages (ancient, middle and upper) are present on S. Domino, whereas on S. Nicola the following things have been found: piling holes of an Iron Age hut, sepulchral graves dating back to the Classical and Hellenistic Ages and the remains of two Domus Romanae.
At the beginning of the new Millennium, documentary sources indicated a first religious centre used by the Benedictine Cassino monks. It is thought that the construction of the Monastery and St. Mary's church can be dated back to the first years of the XI century.
What is certain is that the Tremiti Abbey experienced a period of real splendour during the course of the XI century, increasing its own possessions on the mainland significantly.
Independence and power indicated the beginning of a moral and material decadence of the order and in 1237 Cardinal Raniero from Viterbo gave the Bishop of Termoli the job of replacing the Benedictine order with the Cistercensi order of the Casanova monastery in Parma. The frequent incursions of Slav pirates led to the complete disappearance of the order in 1334 and to the destruction of a large part of the Monastery. None of the Cistercense monks was spared and following this, the island was uninhabited for decades.
Following the massacre of the Cistercensi monks, several religious orders refused to move to the Tremiti islands until, after great pressure, Pope Gregory XII sent a congregation of Lateranensi canons in 1412. These monks, like those which preceded them experienced an initial period of rapid growth of the Abbey followed by a slow period of decadence. During the Bourbon period, the King of Naples Charles III of Bourbon expressed strong reservations over the property of the Lateranensi in the Tremiti islands. In 1782 Ferdinand IV, who had succeeded Charles III, did away with the Abbey and included the heritage in the Royal property. In 1792 he set up a penal colony in the Tremiti islands which remained in operation until 1926. In 1932 Tremiti became an independent area. Since the abolition of the penal colony, the Islands administration has been concerned with exploiting the tourist development over the past decades.