The name Pastena originates from the Latin medieval term ‘pastinum’ which means “land masses” and the ancient human presence is documented by prehistoric pottery and tools found in a cave.
After a thousand AD, Pastena entered the county of Fondi and into the Papal States. At the end of the eighteenth century it was one of the areas that fought the French and for this it was besieged and sacked. Starting from 1806 it depended directly on the state of Naples, and when the Piedmontese arrived, the whole area has been strongly affected by the phenomenon of banditry. On the mountains lies the abandoned village of Ambrifi
The main tourist attraction is the Pastena Caves discovered in 1926 by Baron Carlo Franchetti and attracted tourists from the following year.
These caves, about 4km from the village, have provided many archaeological finds relating to burials and ritual offerings dating back to prehistoric times (Neolithic and Bronze Age).
The excavations and analysis are still being undertaken and much remains to be published. An axe and a bronze dagger have been found that date to the Middle Bronze Age (about fifteenth century BC).