Formello is located on a small hill north of Rome and its territory was originally under the control of the Etruscan city of Veii. The Etruscans built a dense network of tunnels to drain the water of the Tiber and the Latin word ‘Form’ means just ‘conveyed’. From the Etruscan period remains a royal tomb, under the mound of Monte Aguzzo, in the collection of which is part of the famous Olpe Chigi vase and a Bucchero ceramic vase with letters spelling “di Formello”.
The Romans built many villas and farms in this rural area that operated until the third century AD when everything was abandoned with the decline of the empire.
From the eighth century the Church began to repopulate the area under Pope Adrian I, and some new “domusculta” or agricultural colonies were formed in the Roman style, the so-called “Domusculta Capracorum” (via di Santa Cornelia). These colonies were also an administrative center with an adjoining church having direct control of the funds of the Church in this area.
With the arrival of the Barbarian invasions, the population left the valley and settled on the heights and in this period the actual center of Formello was formed under the protection of the Monastery of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Pope Nicholas III assigned Formello to the Orsini family, and in 1661 and later the fiefdom of Formello was sold to the Chigi family.