BANZI

Between the San Gervasio building and Genzano di Lucania, one passes through Banzi, an ancient centre dominating the surrounding territory.

History

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 1088.

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 current look.

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 (XIII century).

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 Hellenistic period.

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 (XII-XIII century).

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).

BANZI
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Basilicata region of Italy

 

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