Banfi spent his youth in Vimercate and Mantua, where his father was rector of the Technical Institute. From 1904-08 he studied at the University of Mantua literature. A few months after graduation, he went with a scholarship to study at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin. In 1911 he returned to Italy to take up a school activity. In 1922 his first book, La filosofia e la vita spirituale ( The philosophy and the spiritual life ) appeared. In 1926, his major theoretical work, I principi di una teoria della followed ragione ( principles of a theory of reason ). 1930 came in Chiavari to a meeting with Edmund Husserl. In 1932 he became professor of history of philosophy in Milan. In 1942 Banfi came into contact with the banned under Mussolini KPI; from 1943-45 he was a member of the Italian " the Resistance ".
With the events of the Second World War, Banfi turned to Marxism to an increasing extent. This he regarded as the thinking that was able to resolve the conflict " between ideology and philosophy, between practice and theory, between the concrete commitment and reason " dissolve.
In a Reggio Emilia Institute named after him, the " Istituto Banfi " was established, which houses the library and the estate Banfis and looks after the publication of his posthumous editions of the works.
- La filosofia e la vita spirituale (1922 )
- Principi di una teoria della ragione (1926 );
- Nietzsche ( 1934)
- La vita dell ' arte (1947 )
- L' uomo copernicano (1950 )
- La ricerca della realia (1959 )
- Saggi sul Marxismo (1960 )
- Filosofi contemporanei (1961 )
- Filosofia dell ' arte (1962 )
- Vita di Galileo Galilei (1962, 2nd edition)