FrascatiFrascati (m. 320, 22000 inhabitants) is really worth of attention due to its patrimony of natural and artistic treasures. Its origin dates, back to the year 1191 after Tusculum (see below) was put to fire and sward. The Tusculum survivors abandoned it and went to live below, at the hamlet then known as frascata the bowery.
Frascati is the best known of the so-called "Castelli Romani". In fact, when people speak about Castelli they are often thinking of Frascati, and this is even more true in regard of the wine, for its golden wine is the best known of the Castelli vintages. Innumerable are the cantine (wine-making companies or cellars) that make excellent and renowed wines that are exported all over the world. The wine known as "Frascati" is a "proven origin wine" (vino a denominazione di origine controllata).
The pastry of Frascati is equally well known: "pupazze" are honey cakes shaped like men, women and animals. The women are always given three breasts, probably a memory of some ancient fertility cult. Common people say two breasts are for milk and one for wine. Also well known are the wine cakes.
Yet it is not only the wine that has given the town its fame, for there are also its panorama reaching in the clear days from the Tyrrhenian sea to the Sabine Hills, and patricians villas in marvellous parks. Sumptuous villas were built on the slopes of Mount Tuscolo already in ancient times: Lucullus and Cicero had villas here.
Villa Torlonia, which is now a public domain, contains a splendid Water Theatre built by Carlo Maderno. Unfortunately, nothing remains of the old original building as the bomb of the 2nd world war razed it to the ground.
Villa Aldobrandini is the most illustrious example of Mannerist architecture. It acts as a theatrical backdrop to the visitors of Frascati. It was built at the end of the sixteenth century for Cardinal Aldobrandini by Giacomo Della Porta, Carlo Maderno and Giovanni Fontana. It contains magnificent rooms with paintings by the Zuccari brothers, the cavalier d'Arpino and Domenichino. Its splendid grounds are adorned with statues, grottoes, fountains and waterfalls.
Villa Falconieri (on the road to Tuscolo), designed by Borromini, is the most exquisite and refined example of Baroque art. It has rich frescoes and a vast park.
Villa Tuscolana (also on the road to Tuscolo) was built in the seventeenth century by Vanvitelli.Thanks to its strategic position on the Tusculum hillsides the Villa enjoy a breathtaking vista of Rome.
Villa Mondragone (on the road to Monteporzio) was erected for the Cardinal Altemps in 1572. It was begun by Longhi at the ned of the sixteenth century and was continued by Vasanzio, rainaldi, and Ponzio. It now belongs to the 2nd Rome University at Tor Vergata.
In the centre of the town is the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, with an eighteenth century facade by Girolamo Fontana. Henry Stewart, Cardinal Duke of York, was bishop of Frascati and is buried in this cathedral. The picturesque fountain in the square is also by G. Fontana.
The Church of the Jesus is attributed to Pietro da Cortona.
drive of 5 km takes to the mount Tuscolo. On the hill (610 m) stood
ancient Tusculum. It is said to have been funded by Telegono, Ulysses's
son and the sorceress Circe. From the Roman period we can see an
amphitheatre, the remains of the forum, and a well preserved theatre,
the cistern, and an arch topped with a metal cross.
This summit gives a wide view of the surrounding mountains, the Castelli, and the Roman countryside.
houses the most important scientific centres in Italy that found here
calm and peace only a few minutes from Rome: the INFN, the ENEA (the
Italian Alternative Energy Authority) the CNR (Italy's National
Research Council) and the ESA (the European Space Agency).