History of Frascati, ItalyThe most important archaeological find in the area is a Roman villa dating from the late Republican Age, probably belonging to one 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 9 C Frascati was a small 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 it was impoverished by frequent raids on its territory. It was a possession of various baronal families, including the Colonna, until, in 1460, Pope Pius II fortified the town with walls.
At the beginning of the 16 C, 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). 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 be observed.
In 1518 a hospice was built and named after St. Sebastiano, in memory of the old basilica destroyed in the 9 C. After Prince Colonna's death in 1522, Lucrezia della Rovere sold Frascati to Pier Luigi Farnese, nephew of Pope Paul III.
On 1 May 1527, a Landsknecht company, having participated in the sack of Rome, arrived among the neighbouring villages. However, the soldiers changed direction of march next to a niche consecrated to the Virgin Mary and the town was therefore saved. 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.