Salerno is one of the biggest cities in Campania, with a population of about 140 thousand people. It is one of the most visited places in Campania, together with Naples and the Amalfi coast. There are many things to see – the whole historic center of Salerno has been acknowledged as a unique example of medieval city planning!
Salerno’s history dates back to ancient times: it was a famous resort for Romans. There was also a big port, which helped the city to participate in trade and develop as a commercial center. Moreover, in the 12-15th centuries Salerno gained fame as a medical center thanks to its big medical school. Today Salerno is an administrative center of the province of Salerno and one of the biggest cities in Campania.
When to go
Salerno is a popular beach resort, so it is extremely popular in summer. Spring and autumn are quite comfortable seasons to travel there, as there is no heat at this time, so you can dedicate your days to sightseeing. Nevertheless, in winter there’s a flow of tourists around Christmas and New Year – many people come to the city to see the Festival of Lights. The whole city is decorated with hundreds of varieties of street lights – it is indeed something to be seen!
What to see
Salerno offers an impressive list of sights to visit. The list starts with the Duomo, of course! The Cathedral of Salerno is dedicated to Saint Matthew – San Matteo. It is an absolute must-see! The Cathedral was built in the 11th century, and the remains of San Matteo are kept in this very place. It is incredibly beautiful inside, all decorated with mosaics and frescoes. The architecture of the building itself is impressive as well. In the little yard of the Duomo, there is a little fountain – which has been transferred there from Naples.
The next thing to see is right next to the Duomo – The Palace of Ruggero (Palazzo de Ruggiero). It is a Baroque palace from the 17th century, restored in the 19th century and nowadays is open to the public as an art exhibit center. Another palace, Pallazzo Genovese, located on Piazza Sedile del Campo, is also a Baroque building with interesting architectural details. Palazzo Ruggi d’Aragona – is the biggest palace in the historic city center, and it is also not to be missed.
The Santa Sofia complex is also one of the must-visit landmarks in Salerno. It used to be a Benedictine monastery, then the city’s civil courtand then a school. This construction belongs to the 10th century, and today, same as Palazzo Ruggiero, works as an exhibition center.
Include Capella Palatina in your sightseeing list – it is a unique chapel, built with 1000 year-old stones and decorated with frescoes inside.
Some buildings worth seeing in Salerno are quite new – Palazzo Santoro and Palazzo di Citta di Salerno both belong to the 20th century, but the architectural styles are considered rare and unique. If you’d still prefer to see something ancient, check out the medieval water supply system: Acquedotto medievale on via Arce.
Slightly outside of the city there’s a Castello di Arechi – a large fortress, which makes a whole complex of fortification constructions. The castle stands on a high hill (about 260 metres over the sea) and from there you will see an amazing panorama of Salerno.
Back to the city center – visit the park Giardino della Minerva – a botanical garden created specifically for medical school students. The garden is famous for its collection of medical herbs. Restored after WWII, the garden was well taken care of, and now you can even take a guided tour there.
And of course, there’s a Lungomare – the long beautiful boardwalk. Lungomare Trieste is the place for evening walks and relaxation!
Museo Archeologico Provinciale – museum of archeology. The exhibition includes findings from all over the province of Salerno.
Museo Pinacoteca Provinciale – the art gallery; the works of art presented range from the Renaissance to the 19th century.
Museo Roberto Papi – medical museum. Very original exhibition of all medical equipment invented in the world since 17th century.
Salerno is very close to Naples – the drive takes about an hour and a half, depending on traffic. From Salerno you can also take a day-roadtrip to the Amalfi coast and Sorrento. The archeologic park Paestum is also quite close – there you can find several of the preserved ancient greek temples in Italy.
How to get there
As a large transportation hub, Salerno is easy to reach on any kind of public transport. Both trains and buses arrive at the central station. Check Trenitalia for trains, and as for the buses – it depends on where you’re coming from. Read our trains & buses manual to organize your transportation perfectly!