This historical period goes from the Western Roman Empire fall in 476 A.D. until 1515 A.D.. If you ask yourself why this date, the Frascati statute from the Church was published in this year. In this period of mostly oblivion and decadence, there are very little documents. We can suppose that the Roman Villas were abandoned, but that the people took possession of even more land for agriculture and grape cultivation, as the villas were depredated to build local houses or rural buildings. Many facts marked the Frascati wine region history, in this period.
Marotia, from Counts of Tusculum
From an historical point of view, after the Roman Empire fall, the Counts of Tusculum gave rise to a new rise period starting around the year 900. This powerful family, originated by the so called she-pope Marotia, dominated the designation of Roman Popes for two centuries starting with John XI(pope 931-935), John XII (pope 955-964),Benedict VII (pope 974-983), Benedict VIII (pope 1012-1024),John XIX (pope 1024-1032),Benedict IX(pope 1032-1048), Benedict X (antipope 1058-1059). Around year 1000, Saint Nilus founded the greek Grottoferrata abbey, from the name Crypta ferrata existing on a rural area. Grottaferrata is only a couple of km away from Frascati. Other monk orders started the building of monasteries in the Frascati area. On September 1016, Benedictus VIII wrote to the sublacense (from Sublacum now Subiaco) abbot Johannis III: "Confirmamus item civitatem videlicet in integro qui vocatur Tosculana cum castello suo infra se cum fundis et casalibus vineis seu terris ved cum omnibus suiis pertinentiis", which translates to: "We confirm to pass all properties of city of Tusculum, including the castle, the vineyards and rural buildings and all other belongings".
This move seems to be done to weaken the Counts of Tusculum influence on the popes, because other rich roman families were fighting to control the election of Popes and thus Rome itself.
On April 17th 1191, Tusculum was completely destroyed by the Romans ("... atque a Romanis destructum ita, quod lapis supra lapidem non remansit" not a stone upon a stone remained). This action was supported by Pope Celestine III and the consent of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, son of Frederick Barbarossa. Their inhabitants refugeed to the place where Frascati lies today, which was already having a population living on the area where once was the villa of Passienus, and corresponds today to the oldest Frascati area of the S. Maria in Vivario church with the 1305 bell tower.
Many papal documents (bulla) from the monastereries of Subiaco and Monte Cassino refers to Tusculum as it was given away or moved from one property to the other. It is interesting to note that all acts regarding the transfer of control of Tusculum, quote the phrase "cum vineis", (with vineyards), and this is a clear indication that the grape growing and wine making activity in the Frascati area never stopped, regardless of wars, change of ownership or power. Some documents refer to a church S. Maria in Vineis, which exists today and is surrounded by vineyards, it is in the Cisternole area in Frascati. To dedicate a church to the holy Mary protecting the vineyards, is another strong indication of the long time wine devotion.
Around this period originated the name Frascati. St. Antoninus (1389-1459) Chronicle, II, XVIII, 925 "suburbia civitatis tusculane... quod vulgo Frascatum dicitur", the surroundings of the town Tusculum ... named Frascati. There are many legends, the most notorius derives the name Frascati from Frascata, i.e. a set of Frasche which were small huts made of bushes. The legend says that these were the early abitations by the Tusculum people just after the destruction. Whatever the name is, today's Fraschette is used to denote an osteria (tavern) selling self produced wine, and for the tradition, outside there is a bush of laurel on the door, the fraschetta's banner.