A small, solitary white building clinging to the bare rock, which stands out with its austerity among the vegetation and natural terracing, dominating from above the town of Atrani and the valley of the torrent Dragone.
This is how the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Bando appears, about 750 steps away from Atrani, dislocated among alleys animated by the intimate vitality of this community, terraces and countryside: a journey back in time, when life certainly proceeded in a less frenetic manner and spirituality was an expression of sincere devotion.
First documented in 1187 (but it cannot be ruled out that it may have existed as early as the time of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi), the Church of Santa Maria del Bando became in time the place where the proclaimed proclamations, that is, public announcements and sentences for wrongdoers, addressed to the population.
The legend has it that the site was built as a vow following a miracle performed by the Holy Virgin who allegedly saved a man unjustly sentenced to hanging, an episode depicted among other things in a 15th-century fresco preserved on the high altar.
The sacred building faces east and is built taking advantage of a small plateau of a rock outcrop at abutting the sheer walls of Mount Aureus. The solid outer walls, compact volumes and small windows give the church the external appearance of a fortress, set in a particularly striking rocky setting.
Eighteenth-century renovations gave the site its current Baroque flavor, with stucco, cornices and panels.
The high altar is from 1886 while the 18th-century Neapolitan-made polychrome majolica floor tiles come from the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Maddalena.
The present statue of Our Lady is a gift from the famous Atranese-born entrepreneur Vittorio Perrotta, after the ancient effigy was stolen. Rector of the church is parish priest Don Carmine Casola Satriano.
From the belfry, the sacristy and the outdoor terrace one can admire a unique panorama, embracing in a single glance the picturesque village of Atrani, the valley of Dragone, the spur of Cimbrone on one side and the tower of Ziro on the other.
Via S. Sebastiano
84010 Atrani (SA)