Pascarella was born in Rome and initially was a painter. His literary activity began in 1881 with the publication of sonnets in Romanesco dialect. In the same period he made friends with Gabriele D'Annunzio. He made a series of journeys through Africa, India and the Americas in 1882–1885. On his return to Rome he published the collection Villa Glori, who was hailed as a masterwork by Giosuè Carducci. Also well received was the imaginative La scoperta dell'America (1893).
In 1905 Pascarella began Storia nostra, a history of Rome which was planned as a sequence of 350 sonnets, but was left unfinished after 270 had been written.