People in Italy and around the world, in hearing the name Frascati, has always evoked a lot of simpathy. A famous name, immediately associated with the wine, where a generous land, rich in nature, has always welcomed and conquered visitors.
This can be admired when we look out at one of the windows of the Casale, which turns its back to the city of Rome: vineyards and olive groves meet the eyes that stretch all the way up to the town walls, built by Pope Paul III Farnese. Beyond that, you can see the villas built at the beginning of Sixteenth century and, further up, the peak of Mount Tusculo where our story begins.
According to tradition Telegonus, the son of Ulysses and Circe, founded the city of Tusculum, which historians trace back to the 10th century BC.
Evidence of Greek and Latin culture emerges from the centuries of relations with and dominion of Rome. At the height of its splendour the town had luxurious buildings: the villas of famous roman families like Tiberius, Cicero Portia family, Mamilia, Fulvia and Fonteio families. An important amphitheatre, built in the 2nd century DC, held 3000 spectators.
Its strategic position, its proud autonomous character, and its fluctuating love-hate relationship with Rome marked its end in the year 1191.
Even before that period, some people had founded a small village called "Frascata", on the slopes of the mountain, near the ruins of what is believed to be Lucullus's Villa.
Its agreeable location, fertile soil of volcanic origin and, its nearness to Rome, led to its development: the Torlonia, Aldobrandini, Falconieri, Lancellotti, Borghese and other nobles families built their wonderful villas that can still be admired by visitors today.
The greatest artificers of the 16th and 17th centuries vied with each other in creating these noble residences: from Giacomo Della Porta to Maderno, from Vanvitelli to Borromini.
In addition to the villas, the "forma urbis" is like a great natural balcony overlooking the plain; at its back the dense woods merge with the sky.
The presence of monumental structures is typical of Frascati, like its squares, which are also monumental: large spaces that welcome and astound the visitor.
One of the many interesting facts about Frascati is that it was here that, on 7 July 1856, the first section of the railway of the then Pontifical State was inaugurated. But there is also a story of new destruction, on 8 September 1943, when the town was badly hit by the tragic epilogue of the war.
Having given a rather brief idea of the localities and origins, let us take a closer look at this place, which inspired painters, engravers poets and scholars like Clara Wells who, in 1878, wrote: "... Is a neat farmhouse, embowered in green, called the Marchese".
Today just like before, the beauty of this place and its isolation have remained unchanged since the Carletti family became its owners at the end of the 19th century.
Casale Marchese is built over two old Roman cisterns. It is mentioned as early as 12 May 1301 in a Bull by Boniface VIII, in relation to the property of the Annibaldi family. In 1713 the Casale is recorded as the dwelling of Emilio del Cavaliere, the musician. Several references are made to it over the centuries, such as in the Pontifical cadastre of 1860.
Nowadays, at Casale Marchese, the owner lives in one wing of the eighteenth century building while the other part is used for the processing of wine and its bottling and packaging. Adjoining the wine cellar is the tasting room, visited by tourists from all over the world. Adjacent to this is the farm's oil-press, which guarantees superior quality oil.
The estate, over 50 hectares, lies in one of the most typical Frascati D.O.C. areas, overlooking one of the loveliest Roman and Tusculan views, where vineyards alternate with ancient olive groves.
The structure of the land has always been ideal for this type of crop, not only because of its height (about 300 m a.s.l.) but because of its hilly conformation and exposure to the sea, and of its volcanic soil origin like the whole Roman Hills area.
Grapes have always been grown all over the Roman Hills. Ancient references can be found in the folklore, in the economy and even in the politics. Marcus Porcius Cato, known as "the Censor", an illustrious Tusculan citizen of 230 BC, advised people to settle down there because it was an "optima loco".
The economy of the settlements has been based on the farm-villa since Roman times. Over the last few centuries the links between Villas, holdings and groups of houses have transformed the scenery with artificial terraces to protect against leaching. This has favoured the development of wine growing, particularly in areas facing south.
Even today the modern and rational systems of cultivation used by the Farm do not affect the deep respect for the Tusculan scenery and territory. In fact, in the vineyards, mainly in Cordone Speronato, grapes are still handpicked and selected. Pressing is done in modern gentle presses so as not to tear the skins and the temperature is kept under constant control so as not to lose the fragrances and the flavours.
The work of Casale Marchese has certainly contributed to a marked increase in the presence of Frascati wine on traditional markets in Italy and abroad, offering a wide range of products, from the classic Frascati D.O.C. to the "Vigna del Cavaliere", a robust, austere red wine, and "Cortesia", a sweet and delicate wine.
Among the farm's products, the extra-virgin olive oil deserves special mention. It is obtained by gentle cold pressing from local varieties like Rosciola and Frantoio.
Centuries-old olive trees frame the vineyards and encircle the Casale, an example of our respect for the scenery and for the great past to which we belong.