Historical evidence of an existing small urban settlement in the area goes back to the year 850 AD when the Liber Pontificalis mentioned donations from Benedetto III and Leone IV to the churches of San Vincenzo, Santa Maria and San Sebastiano in Frascata.
In 1191, after the destruction of Tusculum, people took refuge in this small centre and gained importance inasmuch as it was chosen as the seat of the diocese.
Between the year ‘200 and the year ‘300, the town of Frascati grew and developed substantially, inasmuch as becoming the target of conflict between Cola di Rienzo and the Colonna family in 1354. Following, the territory passed into the hands of several feudatories; in the 16th century Pope Julius II handed over the governing of Frascati to Marcantonio Colonna I and the town became residence of the prince and his wife Lucrezia della Rovere until his death in 1522.
In 1527, a horde of German Landsknecht soldiers on their way to Frascati changed direction at a crossroad where there was an aedicule showing the image of the Virgin Mary. To thank the Madonna for the grace received, the people of Frascati built the Chiesa di Capocroce (Church of Capocroce), which even today is part of the history of the town’s devotion.
In 1538, Pope Paolo Farnese III conferred the title of Civitas upon Frascati with the name of Tusculum Novum; during the same period, a wall of protection was erected around the new town.
The flourishing period of peace following the treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis, which put an end to the war of Italy and the conflicts between the Hapsburgs and France, gave Frascati a new lease of life. The town became the favourite place to build residential villas for the Roman nobles which are still a great attraction today for tourists: Villa Aldobrandini, Villa Falconieri, Villa Lancellotti, Villa Torlonia, splendid residences emerged in magnificent Italian style gardens distinguished by the combination of art and joyful water displays.
The beginning of the cathedral of St. Peter’s in 1598 and of the first European public school non-aristocratic in 1616 (by the will of S. Giuseppe Calasanzio), were clear signs of Frascati’s recent wealth.
In 1798 Frascati, already a destination of the Grand Tour, proclaimed itself a Republican state and became twin city with the recent Republic of Rome. Its bond with Rome strengthened in 1837 when an epidemic broke out in the capital; Frascati was the only town to offer hospitality to the Romans fleeing the epidemic and as a token of recognition Frascati was allowed to use the same colours of the Roman flag, yellow and red.
In 1856, on the initiative of Pope Gregory XVI and Pope Pius IX, a railway line was built from Rome to Frascati contributing to the great development of the Castelli Romani area, now easily reachable by everyone. Lots of taverns and fraschette (typical local tavern) offered local products to the many visitors wishing to spend a relaxing day out. Its culinary tradition is strongly related to the development of the railway line, at that time popularly known as the hangover train, which took visitors back to Rome after a day of eating and drinking.
In 1906, a tramline was introduced for Rome and the Castelli Romani, passengers from Frascati could then change at the crossroads of Grottaferrata and set off again for Rome or Marino. In 1954, the tram was replaced by a bus service and in 1916 a further local tramline connected Frascati with the Rome-Fiuggi line via Monteporzio, Montecompatri and San Cesareo. In 1943, the line was destroyed by war bombings and was substituted by a bus service.
In 1943, during the Second World War, Frascati was taken over by General Kesselring of the German army and suffered serious damages by ally bombings: 1300 American bombs were launched causing the death of 500 civilians and 200 soldiers, as well as the destruction of more than half of the monuments and public buildings. Bombings stopped on 4th June 1944 when the American troops entered Frascati. A large part of the Town Hall was later reconstructed.