Originally named Bovianum, it was settled by the 7th century BC. As the capital of the Pentri, a tribe of the Samnites, it played a major role in the Samnite Wars, as well as in the Social War, when it was a temporary capital (93 BC). It was sacked by Sulla.
After the Lombard conquest, the deserted area was given to a group of Bulgars and became a seat of a gastaldate. After two centuries marked by Saracen attacks, in the mid-11th century it was conquered by the HautevilleNormans, becoming a fief of Raoul de Moulins, a companion to Robert Guiscard. The city became a county capital.
The city was destroyed by a long series of earthquakes, the last occurring in 1913.
The remains of Cyclopean walls can be seen on the heights above the modern town. Other attractions include:
The Cathedral of St. Bartholomew (11th century), several times damaged by earthquakes. The apse is still in Norman style.
The church of Sts. Erasmus and Marinus, with a noteworthy Gothic portal.
The Hermitage of St. Egidius, on a 1,025 m high mountain in the neighbourhood.
The remains of the Norman Castle.
Alifana, Campi Marzi, Castellone, Chiovitti, Ciccagne, Civita Superiore, Codacchio, Colacci, Collalto, Cucciolene, Fonte delle Felci, Imperato, Limpiilli, Majella, Malatesta, Monteverde, Mucciarone, Pallotta, Pietre Cadute, Pinciere, Pitoscia, Pitti, Prusciello, Rio Freddo, Santa Maria dei Rivoli, Sant'Antonio Abate, Taddeo, Tilli Tilli.
De Benedittis, G. Bovianum ed il suo territorio (1977)