Cassino (käs-sēˈnō) [key], town (1991 pop. 32,787), in Latium, central Italy, in the Apennines, on the Rapido River. It is a commercial and agricultural center, and the site of a Fiat auto assembly plant. The peace between Emperor Frederick II and Pope Gregory IX was signed there in 1230. During World War II (late 1943) the town and the nearby Benedictine abbey of Monte Cassino were strongly defended by Germans blocking the Allied advance on Rome. After five months of concentrated ground attacks and attempts to divert German troops by landings at Anzio and Nettuno, the Allies finally captured the German positions in May, 1944. Cassino was reduced to rubble but was largely rebuilt. Of note is the cathedral (18th cent., rebuilt after 1944), which contains the alleged remains of St. Benedict and his sister St. Scholastica. Until 1871, Cassino was called San Germano.
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