Legend has it that the original town now known as Cercaro was founded by Aeneas, who had landed at Gaeta and was directed inward, founding various cities.
There are two traditions about the history of the name: the first concerns the young patrician Tertullus killed by the Goths in the sixth century and buried near an altar for sacrifices called ‘Acerba ara’. The second tells of a white deer that was grazing on the mountain Pesculum, birthplace of the Acropolis and then later of the castle, and that is shown on the municipal coat of arms.
Cervaro was established in the middle age around a castle built by the abbots of Montecassino to defend the population from the Saracens. Cervaro followed the fortunes of the Abbey and was attacked by its enemies. It tried to become independent in 1130 and in 1137 but managed only to establish a “Bill of Rights” which recognized many rights. It was hit by an epidemic of plague in 1576. It remained under the jurisdiction of the abbey until 1806 when it became part of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies.
Cervaro suffered a lot of damage during the Second World War.