In Roman times, this area was occupied by the rich aristocratic Roman villas such as Marcus Tullius Cicero. By the fifth century AD, on the ruins of a Roman villa, was born a small village whose name comes from a tomb protected by iron gratings: the “Crypta Ferrata”.
Until the nineteenth century Grottaferrata was the only settlement near the majestic abbey founded by St. Nilus on land donated to the monks by the Count of Tusculum.
The Abbey has been repeatedly sacked: in 1155 by William I of Sicily, in 1163 by Frederick Barbarossa, and in 1241 by Emperor Frederick II of Swabia. The German and French also contributed to the destruction.
To protect the Abbey, Giuliano della Rovere (later Pope Julius II) built a wall that still surrounds the monastery. Since 1605 the Abbey was subjected to the Command of the Colonna, then of the Farnese, Cardinal Barberini, until the Consalvi.
In 1856 was formed the Società Anonima delle Cartiere di Grottaferrata e Subiaco (Anonymous Society of Papermakers of Grottaferrata and Subiaco) where the Papal State banknotes were printed.
After 1870, the sale of land confiscated by the Italian State has led to a great fragmentation of the territory and it became a place of numerous religious houses and a vacation spot for the rich Roman bourgeoisie who completed the cycle and built numerous “villas”.