From the Roman cognomen Hadrianus
, which meant "from Hadria" in Latin. Hadria was the name of two Roman settlements. The first (modern Adria) is in northern Italy and was an important Etruscan port town. The second (modern Atri) is in central Italy and was named after the northern town. The Adriatic Sea is also named after the northern city.
A famous bearer of the name was Publius Aelius Hadrianus, better known as Hadrian, a 2nd-century Roman emperor who built a wall across northern Britain. His family came from the town of Atri in central Italy.