During the barbarian invasions the coastal populations took refuge on the hill where Acquaviva stands today. The village was originally a possession of the Farfa monastery (947), then became a fief of the Acquaviva family (hence the name), who built a fortress there in the 13th century.
In 1341 it passed under the control of the town of Fermo, and in the fifteenth century it had a significant demographic expansion, with the construction of the eastern sector, called "Terra Nuova" as opposed to the "Terra Vecchia" closer to the fortress, the original core of the center.
In 1799, during the Napoleonic campaign in Italy, the anti-French forces led by brigand Sciabolone put it to fire and destroyed the municipal archive, and all sources of local history, whose reconstruction is mainly based on secondary testimonies. Acquaviva was annexed by plebiscite to the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.