Aquino is located in the Liri Valley, halfway between Rome and Naples along the ancient Via Latina that connected Rome to Campania. Aquino was first a centre of the Volsci between the fourth and third centuries and then a Roman city: ‘Aquinum Romana’. It is first mentioned in 211 BC, during the advance of Hannibal along the Via Latina and had its peak in the Augustan period when it reached a population of about forty thousand inhabitants.
The city was fortified and was famous for the purple dye industry. Here was born the satirist Juvenal and Emperor Pescennius Niger. After the Empire, Aquino became Episcopalian and was destroyed in 590 by the Lombards.
The current city was built in the Middle Ages around a castle from the Lombard family Conti D’aquino, with family ties with the Emperor Frederick II. Aquino was often in conflict with the abbey of Montecassino. Into this family St. Thomas was born. In 1796 Ferdinand IV of Bourbon bought Aquino and annexed it to the Kingdom of Naples.
Its name derives from the many lakes (now dried up) and numerous springs.