The family claimed descent from the Roman plebeian family of Anicii, however, the first mention of the family dates only from 1014, in a document relating to the Abbazia di Farfa. A parchment diploma of Ottone I in the Frangipani archive at Castello di Porpetto, in Friuli, is dated 10 January 973.:11
They played a significant part in the struggle between Pope Gregory VII and Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, and briefly governed Rome from 1107–1108. In the feuding between the Orsini and Colonna families they supported the Orsini. Their power was at its greatest when they achieved the election of Pope Honorius II in 1124. From no later than 1130 the Frangipani held the Colosseum of Rome, which they had fortified and which gave them strategic control of the approaches to the Lateran Palace, the papal residence, from the north and west; the family lost control of the Colosseum to the Annibaldi in the mid-thirteenth century.:222
In 1268 Giovanni Frangipane, lord of Astura, betrayed Conradin, the teenage Duke of Swabia and last of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, who took refuge with him after his defeat at the Battle of Tagliacozzo. Frangipane arrested him and handed him over to Charles of Anjou, who beheaded him.
A branch of the family in Friuli had estates at Tarcento and Porpetto.
- Cencio I Frangipane
- Cencio II Frangipane
- Oddone Frangipane
- Ottone Frangipane; monk, later canonised.
- Francesco Frascarelli (1970). Frangipani (in Italian). Enciclopedia Dantesca. Archived 17 December 2013.
- Eugenio Dupré Theseider (1932). Frangipane (in Italian). Enciclopedia Italiana. Rome: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana. Accessed May 2015.
- Giuseppe Mazzatinti. (1988 [1899–1900]). Gli Archivi della Storia d'Ítalia (facsimile, in Italian). Hildesheim; New York: Georg Olms Verlag. ISBN 3487090449.
- David Lee Bomgardner (2000). The Story of the Roman Amphitheatre. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780415165938.
- Giovanni Frangipane (in Italian). Enciclopedie on line. Rome: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana. Accessed April 2015.
- Frangipane (in Italian). Enciclopedie on line. Rome: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana. Accessed May 2015.
- Friederich Heyer von Rosenfield (1873), "Grafen Frangipani", in: Wappenbuch: Der Adel des Königreichs Dalmatien, Volume 4, part 3 (in German). Nürnberg: Bauer und Raspe. p. 44–45.