Recycling of Earth’s crust through subduction and delamination contributes to mantle heterogeneity. Melt inclusions in early crystallised magmatic minerals record greater geochemical variability than host lavas and more fully reflect the heterogeneity of magma sources. To date, use of multiple isotope systems on small (< 300 μm) melt inclusions was hampered by analytical limitations. Here we report the first coupled Sr-Nd-Pb isotope data on individual melt inclusions from potassium-rich lavas from neighbouring Quaternary volcanoes in central Italy and infer the presence of a previously unidentified ancient lower crustal component in the mantle. We suggest derivation from Variscan or older basement included in the upper mantle by either delamination, sediment recycling, subduction erosion and/or slab detachment processes during Cenozoic subduction and collision of the western Mediterranean. The capability to determine isotope ratios in individual melt inclusions permits the detection of distinctive mantle contaminants and can provide insights into how geodynamic processes affect subduction recycling.