Anna Banti grew up as an only child to Calabrian parents. Her father Luigi Vincenzo was a lawyer and led them closer to the humanities. She was influenced by the bourgeois cultural landscape of the nineteenth century and the stories of Balzac, Manzoni, Verga and Proust. Studied at the University La Sapienza and gained a doctorate in art history at Adolfo Venturi about Marco Boschini. In the following years they released a series of art-historical essays.
In 1924 she married the art critic and art historian Roberto Longhi, whose pupil she had been at the Liceo Visconti in Rome. She lived in Rome and Bologna, until she returned to her birthplace in 1940. Your first story she published 1934. Besides her grand narrative authored Anna Banti criticism about art and cinema, created biographies of Matilde Serao and Giovanni da San Giovanni and translated numerous English texts. In 1950, she co-founded with her husband 's art and literary magazine Paragons.
In 1982 she was awarded an Antonio Feltrinelli Prize.