Roman period

The first news about the village date back to Roman times when there was already a port frentano near the stream Feltrino; in imperial times the port was used by the Romans for connections over the Adriatic but also had importance for merchant ships. From that period remains part of the old port, near the current seafront of Gualdo di San Vito Marina. The village, however, had not lost its population, as witnessed by a church in honor of San Vito Martyr of the early Christian era.


Medieval Age

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire San Vito followed the fate of the area of belonging: it was occupied first by the Goths (V - VI century), then by the Byzantines (VI century) and by the Longobards (starting from the second half of the 6th century), who founded the Duchy of Spoleto, to which the town belonged until the Norman conquest occurred in the eleventh century. In the latter period the coast experienced a period of decline, the port was abandoned and covered with stones and river debris. In the early Middle Ages, a castle called "Castellalto" was built, of which there is no information prior to the year 1000. In the following centuries San Vito and the entire Abruzzo became integral parts before the Kingdom of Sicily, then the Kingdom of Naples. In the Angevin period, a document written in 1385 certifies that the property of the port of Gualdum (as it was still called at the time), belonged to the Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere.

In the fourteenth century, the inhabitants of the fiefdom of Sanctum Vitum sided with the Pope Urban VI and the castle was plundered by the gregarious of the antipope Clement VII commanded by Ugone degli Orsini. The abbot of San Giovanni in Venere (Fossacesia) then asked for help to Anxanum (today's Lanciano) who, after sending an army that dispersed the assailants, managed to turn the situation to his advantage by being given in perpetual emphyteusis the fief from the abbey of San Giovanni in Venere, through the payment of a fee of sixty silver pugs. The town of Lanciano, afterward, seeing the economic prosperity reached by the port of San Vito, decided to conquer it. The inhabitants of the commercial maritime city of Ortona then began to worry, and, fearing to lose their maritime supremacy in the area, pushed Ladislao, then sovereign of the Kingdom of Naples, to revoke the authorization granted to Lanciano to restructure the port. In this way, however, a long period of struggle broke out between Lanciano and Ortona. In 1427 San Giovanni da Capestrano reported a temporary peace between the two cities, establishing the pack of the village. With the death of Ladislao and with the consequent struggles for his succession, Lanciano took the opportunity to restructure the port, thus entering into the open war with Ortona, who hired a pirate in charge of demolishing the port facilities of San Vito. He took the opportunity to plunder the village and establish a climate of terror in the district. Lanciano, however, managed to preserve the fief of San Vito. During the Aragonese period (1442-1501), the port of San Vito was used for the Lanciano fairs and maritime trade. The document attesting the period of peace between Lanciano and Ortona is now located at the Municipal Library of Lanciano.


Modern and contemporary age

With the decline of the Lanciano fairs, also the port of San Vito declined again, and Lanciano decided to sell the port with the relative fief of San Vito Chietino to a certain Sancho Lopez in 1528. In the following years the feudal lordship passed into lordship: between which the Caracciolo family, belonging to Ferdinando Caracciolo, Duke of Castel di Sangro, the last feudal lord of San Vito. During the reign of the Two Sicilies San Vito, established in common, became the seat of the homonymous district while continuing to belong to the District of Lanciano. During the Risorgimento, he distinguished himself in the anti-Bourbon struggle. In 1863 the city legally assumed the name with which it is today known through the addition to the toponym of San Vito, of the attribute Chietino, in reference to its province of belonging. In 1889 Gabriele D'Annunzio stayed for a few months in a farmhouse known today as Eremo D'Annunzio.


During the Second World War, the town suffered significant damage due to the aerial and ground bombardments of which it was a victim, so as to be included among the 35 towns of Abruzzo "damaged by war" (of which 21 in the province of Chieti) and therefore required to have a reconstruction plan.

The proximity to the Gustav Line and the involvement of the town, albeit marginally, in the battle of Ortona (December 1943), which, in its culminating phase, was fought less than 10 kilometers away as the crow flies from San Vito, they can, to a large extent, explain the material destruction and human losses that were produced. Some historic buildings, including the medieval castle, reported considerable damage, while a medieval tower, located in Marina di San Vito, was completely razed to the ground.


Since the sixties and seventies the village of San Vito Marina has greatly developed both by virtue of tourism, and thanks to the motorway communications that in those years had the priority on road and rail transport. In 1969 the Pescara - Vasto motorway section began to operate, with an exit, which of Lanciano, located just 4 km away from San Vito Chietino. In 1973 the entire Bologna-Bari section was opened and in 1975 the motorway was completed up to Taranto. As regards railway communications, the new Sangritana Railway (2005) was opened to the public, in a more recent age, with the connection to Pescara-Ortona-Lanciano-Vasto.