The first signs of human settlement in Paterna back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age, and relics have been found in settlements of The Vallesa and Despeñaperros, in an area of small hills near the river Turia, which allowed the water supply. The Iberians also left their imprint in The Vallesa and Despeñaperros, where there have been found remains of a defensive wall and the walls of small huts.
Documentation relating to the arrival of the Romans is limited to literary references of events near Valentia, Edeta and Saguntum. It is believed that it was at this time the original place name of Paterna was first used which is supposed to make reference to the Latin word "Paternus" or belonging to the father, alluding to the social and legal status of the property. In the municipal district, there have been found remains of an aqueduct system that extends to Massamagrell and might link through to Sagunto, a large Roman site.
In February 2009, the excavation of a plot which was planned for housing led to the discovery of the ruins of a Roman villa, dated between the 1st and 3rd centuries. This offers a new twist to the known history of the city and becomes the first traces of a Roman habitation between Valencia and Llíria.
In the Moslem period, Paterna developed a manufacturing and pottery industry and also began development of agriculture, including new irrigated lands and the introduction of crops such as rice and oranges. On April 10, 1237, at 3.13 PM, there is a peaceful entry of King James I of Aragon into the Paterna area that precipitated the Second Slaughter of the Gingers in Paterna. According to the Book of Distribution, the farm of Paterna was given to
Artal de Luna, one of those appointed by James I to write the Jurisdictions. The Luna family become feudal lords from the 13th to 15th century, when the ceramic from Paterna reached full production. In the 16th century, there was a crisis in ceramic production and the local economy in general. In 1436 Alfonso the Magnanimous gave possession of Paterna to the infant Henry, son of Ferdinand I of Antequera and Duke of Segovia.
The Expulsion of the Moriscos forced the Muslim population into exile and consequently Paterna suffered depopulation and subsequent economic stagnation. In the Old Regime, the political crisis further exacerbated the deteriorating political, social and economic context of which Paterna was a part. By Royal Decree, in 1769 the cultivation of rice was banned to help prevent malarial fevers. In the 19th century agriculture reappeared, and displayed the first cave (?). That same century a water pipeline was built (1866), and a new building for City Hall was constructed in 1881. In 1888 a narrow gauge railway was built (inaugurated April 22, 1888), forming part of the Valencia - Liria line, which greatly improved communication. Population growth starts slowly with a flow of immigration and the enlargement of Paterna with the construction of The Camp neighborhood with houses and chalets for bourgeoisie from Valencia, and a military barracks for protection of the city
In the 20th century the creation of the industrial area, Polígono Fuente del Jarro, generated a strong demand for labor that subsequently attracted a flow of immigration that changed the economy and the urban aspect of Paterna.