Aternum was first a port of the Marrucini and Peligni people, and under Roman times became the main port of the region. It was however sacked and destroyed by the Lombards in the 6th century AD. In the Middle Ages two towns rose on the opposite banks of the Pescara river: Pescara to the south, belonging to the province of Chieti, and Castellammare Adriatico in the north, included in the province of Teramo.
The unified new town in 1927 became the capital of the newly formed province of Pescara, and a renowned seaside resort in the 1930's. Because of its important strategic position as a railway center and harbor, Pescara was subject to heavy Allied bombings during WW2, that almost razed it to the ground, killing thousands and thousands of people.