Between the San Gervasio building and Genzano di Lucania,
one passes through Banzi, an ancient centre
dominating the surrounding territory.
Its territory was inhabited since Prehistoric times. It was
definitely founded by the Osci, an Italic population.
It was cited by Tito Livio and Plutarco as Bantia in 1793,
when describing an amazing find of the Tabula Bantina Osca,
a bronze headstone carrying Roman laws from the II century
BC and Osca laws from the I century BC.
A Necropolis from pre-Roman times has been discovered dating
back to the VII-IV centuries BC and a sacred area containing
votive finds (IV century BC).
Nearby, in 208 BC, the Carthaginian general Hannibal, heavily
defeated the Romans.
From the Roman period in Banzi, the remains of a temple and
Roman Domus (Habitation) with baths have been found.
It is without doubt that Bantia was of noteworthy commercial
importance during the Imperial Era. After the period of barbaric
invasions and the Ostrogoth Reign (496-535), who were pushed
out by the Byzantines of Belisario and Narsete as a result
of the Greek-Gothic war (535-553), it became an active Longobard
Centre during the VI century.
During the High Medieval period (VIII century), some Benedictine
Monks founded the Santa Maria Abbey on the sacred Osco-Roman
area, then donated by Grimoaldo III or IV to the Montecassino
Abbey. Th Abbey enjoyed maximum splendour during the Norman
and Swabian eras, and was consecrated by Pope Urbano II in
During 1300, the Abbey passed first to the Augustines and
then the Franciscans, who decided to abandon it and build
a new convent adjacent to it.
Bantia was however, continuously run by religious orders until
1806, the year of abolition of feudal rights and ecclesiastic
privileges by the French, after their ascension to the throne
of Naples. The Abbey’s assets were dismantled and sold
privately and the village developed around it, assuming its
A visit to the City
One can visit the Santa Maria Abbey positioned in the centre
of the City. It was founded by Benedictine monks during the
VIII century and is annexed to the Parochial Church which
is embellished externally with a low marble relief (1331).
Internally it preserves a wooden statue depicting the Madonna
From the Medieval Period, one can still visit the ruins from
the Town Walls, a square tower dating back to the XII century
and the Castle, situated in the Arioso locality.
The Archaeological Park is also worth visiting as it preserves
the Roman remains of Bantia and some foundations from the
In the Pierfaone locality, one can visit the Madonna of Monteforte
Sanctuary which was founded during the XII century. Internally
one can admire the Byzantine influenced fresco Cristo Pantocrator
Two kilometres from Banzi, one can visit the Nocella Fonte
(small wellspring) identified as the Fons Bandusiae, as cited
by Orazio in this Odes.
Places of interest
The S. Maria Abbey (VIII century); the Mother Church of S.
Maria Maggiore (XIII century); S. Gerardo Church (XVI century);
Castle in the Arioso locality; Towers (XIII century); Franciscan
Convent; Mediaeval Town Walls (XIII century); Mandonna of
Monteforte Sanctuary in the Pierfaone locality (XII century);
Archaeological Park; Fonte Nocella (Fons Bandusiae); Roman
site in the Cervarezza locality (II century).