Frascati is a town and commune in the province of Rome in the Latium region of central Italy. It is located 20 km south-east of Rome, on the Alban Hills close to the ancient city of Tusculum. Frascati is the location of some international scientific laboratories, a science town.

Frascati is particularly renowned for its white wine, the Frascati (wine). It is also an important historical and artistical centre. Frascati is the see of the Suburbicarian diocese of Frascati


The most important archeological finding, dating back to Ancient Roman time, during the late Republican Age, is a patrician Roman villa probably belonging to Lucullus. In the first century AD the owner was Gaius Sallustius Crispus Passienus, who married Agrippina the Younger, mother of Nero. Later his properties were confiscated by the Flavian imperial dynasty (69 - 96 AD). Consul Flavius Clemens lived in the villa with his wife Domitilla during the rule of Domitian.

According to the Liber Pontificalis, in the 9th century Frascati was a little village, probably founded two centuries earlier. The name of the city probably comes from a typical local tradition of collecting firewood ("frasche" in Italian): many place-names around the town refer to trees or wood. After the destruction of Tusculum in 1191, the town population increased and the bishopric moved out from Tusculum to Frascati. Pope Innocent III endorsed the city as a feudal possession of the basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, but in the following centuries its territories was ravaged by frequent raids that impoverished it. It was a possession of various baronal families, including the Colonna, until, in 1460, Pope Pius II fortified the place with walls.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century Pope Julius II gave Frascati as a feudal possession to the condottiero Marcantonio I Colonna, who lived there from 1508 together with his wife Lucrezia della Rovere (1485-1552), nephew of Pope Julius II. In 1515 Marcantonio Colonna gave to Frascati (as Populus antiquae civitas Tusculi) the "Statuti e Capituli del Castello di Frascati", the first city statute with rules and regulations to observe.

In 1518 a Hospital was built, named after St. Sebastiano, in memory of the old basilica destroyed in the 9th century. After Prince Colonna's death in 1522 Lucrezia della Rovere sold Frascati to Pier Luigi Farnese, nephew of Pope Paul III.

On May 1, 1527 a Landsknecht company, after having sacked Rome, arrived out of the bordering villages. However, the soldiers changed direction of march next to a niche, a "Rural Aedicule" consecrated to the Virgin Mary, and the town was therefore safe. This event is commemorated by a church now called Capocroce.

In 1538, the Pope Paul III conferred the title of "Civitas" to Frascati, with the name "TUSCULUM NOVUM". In 1598 construction began of a new cathedral dedicated to St. Peter.

On September 15, 1616 the first public and free school in Europe was started up on the initiative of Saint Joseph Calasanz.

On June 18, 1656 a part of plaster peeled off the wall inside the Church of St. Mary in Vivario and an ancient fresco became visible, it was the image of Saints Sebastian and Roch protector from the plague. In that year there was an epidemic of plague in Rome (anno dirae luis) but Frascati was safe, from that year the two Saints were co-patron Saints of the city. The statues of these Saints are in the facade of the Cathedral. In 1757 the Valle theater opened in the centre of the town. And in 1761 the fortress changed to a princely palace under the patronage of the Cardinal Henry Stuart duke of York.

In 1809 Frascati was annexed to the French Empire, and selected as capital of the Roman canton.

In autumn 1837, there was a plague epidemic in Rome, and 5,000 people left Rome. Frascati was the only city that opened its doors to them. Since then Frascati's flag has been the same as Rome's, yellow and red. In 1840 the "Accademia Tuscolana" was founded in the city by Cardinal-Bishop Ludovico Micara.

In 1856 the city was chosen as the terminus of the first railway (Rome and Frascati Rail Road) to be built by the Papal State. The last section of the railway line was inaugurated in 1884, 14 years after the city became part of the new Kingdom of Italy. On December 17, 1901 the first electricity reached Frascati from a hydroelectric plant in Tivoli.

In 1906, the electric tram line was opened for service between Frascati, Rome and Castelli Romani, they traveled wholly along tracks laid down in streets as interurban electric streetcar (light rail). In 1954 the electric Tram line was replaced by buses. In 1916 the electric tram line, called "Vicinali", (Rome and Fiuggi Rail Road), was opened for service. It connected Frascati, Monte Porzio Catone, Monte Compatri, San Cesareo. In 1943 this tram line was destroyed and was replaced by buses.

In 1943, during World War II, Frascati was heavily bombed (Frascati bombing raid September 8, 1943). Approximately 50% of its buildings, including many of monuments, villas and houses, were destroyed. Many people died in that air strike and in a second air strike on January 22, 1944, the day of the battle of Anzio (Operation Shingle). The city was liberated from the Nazi German occupation on June 4, 1944 by 85th Infantry Division.

In 1944-1945 the ruins of the buildings were carried to filled in a valley, now in that place there is the "8 September Stadium".

Main sights


Frascati is famous for its notable villas of the Papal Nobility, built from the 16th century by the Popes, cardinals and Roman nobles as "status symbols" of Roman aristocracy, they were destined to social activities rather than farming. The "Ville Pontificie" have very particular relationship with the surrounding landscape. The villas are substantially well preserved, damages caused to some of them during World War II have been repaired following the original techniques and materials with correct methodologies.

These are:

Religious sites

  • The Cathedral (Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter Apostle) has a high façade from 1698-1700 (Architect Gerolamo Fontana), while the interior is from the 16th century, the project was committed to Ottaviano Nonni called the Mascherino. The interior of the cathedral, demolished by the bombing in 1943, appears bare. On the inner side of the facade the sepulchral stone of Charles Edward Stuart.
  • The Church of the Gesù designed by the Jesuit architect Giovanni De Rosis, was built at the end of the XVI century, has, one the façade, niches with statues attributed to Pietro da Cortona. The most relevant feature of the interior is the illusionistic perspective of false dome and architectural works by Andrea Pozzo who reproduced here the models developed for the church of S. Ignazio in Rome. In 1773 the Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart duke of York reconsacred the church to the Holy Name of Jesus and to St. Gregory the Great.
  • The Bishop's Palace, the old "Rocca" ("Castle"), is a massive construction with two square and one rounded towers: the Bishop of Frascati resides here. The Palace is flanked by the small church of Santa Maria in Vivario, with a campanile (1305) characterized by three orders of three-mullioned windows.


  • Civic archaeological museum at the Scuderie Aldobrandini ("Aldobrandini Stables"). It diplays archaeological finds coming from the ancient Tusculum and the nearby area. The scale models of the Tuscolane Villas are worth mentioning.
  • Ethiopian Museum of Cardinal Guglielmo Massaia (1809-1889), a missionary who was buried here, in the Capuccini's friary, a "villa monastery" with a church dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. This houses in its interior noteoworthy works by Giulio Romano and Pomarancio. Visit on request.

Twin towns

Each year youths from the four towns compete against one another in sports (the Twin Towns Sports Competition) hosted in turn by each of the five towns. In Frascati there are roads named after the twin towns in the Torlonia park.

The science town

During the latter half of the 1950s, the first italian accelerator was developed in Frascati by INFN. Now the Laboratories host in Frascati are:



Frascati is home to many Italian secondary schools, specializing in classical and scientific studies, in foreign languages and commercial studies.


Frascati is home to many teams:

Literature and Music about Frascati

Many novels and romances have been set partly or wholly in Frascati. They include:

Some Operas talk about Frascati:

Famous citizens and residents

Frascati was the birthplace of:

  • Marco Amelia (1982-) Italian footballer
  • Felice Ferri (1828-1889) politician
  • Ludovico Micara (1837-1844) Cardinal Bishop
  • Maffeo Pantaleoni (1857-1924) economist and politician
  • Domenico Valenzani (1874-1931) politician
  • Arnaldo Mecozzi (1876-1932) painter
  • Clemente Micara (1879-1965) Cardinal Bishop
  • Pietro Campilli (1891-1974) politician: deputy of Parliament and Minister
  • Pietro Micara (1912-1975) politician and senator
  • Don Giuseppe Buttarelli (1918-1968) priest, civil-hero
  • Mario Titi (1921-1982) landscape painter
  • Luciano Vicari (1932-2000) musician, violoncello-master
  • Elena Beccarini Crescenzi, poet
  • Augusto Panizza, musician, in 1890 founded the Philarmonic Tuscolan Academy, the Communal Music Band
  • Tino Buazzelli (1922-1980) actor

Frascati has drawn many famous people to live for a time including:

Photo gallery

External links

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