The church of Santa Maria de Lama is one of the oldest one of Salerno. Probably born as a chapel of a private foundation of some noble, the church was built when the city was in the midst of the Longobard domination, between the tenth and eleventh centuries. The name de Lama is due to the creek that runs in front of the building even now below street level. Initially the church was to be built on an old Roman building of the second century (perhaps the spa), of which there are some walls in opus reticulatum, and had to submit a square plan (typical of buildings of Byzantine worship): what remains of this early period is the actual crypt, where you can still see the remains of some frescoes of Benevento invoice.
Due to a natural event, an earthquake, or one of the many floods that hit the area, in the thirteenth century, the church was restored radically: the vaults were demolished and on the previous building (which became crypt) was built the present church, with the plant facing west. The new church was decorated with frescoes. Probably the floors had to be decorated with Cosmatesque mosaics similar to those that still exist in the Cathedral. After nearly a century, the crypt stopped its functions. It was sealed and became a burial ground, where the bodies were thrown from a trap door in the floor. The upper church in the seventeenth century. took on the new name of "St. Alfonso at steps" and was restored in the Baroque style (which caused the loss of almost all the frescoes and mosaics), while on the south side was planted the workshop of a coalman; then falling into disrepair it was closed ending ruined (mainly due to various natural events, such as the 1980 earthquake). Only in 1991 began the restoration work that led to its reopening in 1996.