Salerno is a city of a thousand faces that will charm you at any time of year. What are you waiting for to discover more?
Located about 60 km south of Naples, Salerno is often unjustly considered a gateway to the Amalfi Coast. In reality, Salerno has a lot to offer, from a medieval city centre that takes you back to its ancient and prestigious origins, to a seafront with modern and avant-garde architecture.
If you're intrigued, read on for the must-see places in Salerno.
10. The Devil's Aqueduct
The medieval aqueduct was built in a single night with the help of demons for supplying water to St Benedict monastery.
It almost seems to pop out of a wall in the middle of the city, breaking up the surrounding urban uniformity. It is a symbol for the people of Salerno, who believe that it is bad luck to stand under its arches after dark.
9. Salerno's Artist Lights: not only Christmas lights
Salerno can be enjoyed in summer as well as in winter. The Artist Lights or Luci d'Artista's cultural initiative will win you over during Christmas time. Those on display are authentic artistic productions that follow a different theme each year.
For the tenth edition of 2021-2022, the theme is 'Fairy Tales, Aurora and the Enchanted Garden', with a forest installed in Piazza Flavio Gioia. All main streets and squares host various artistic figures. In the municipal park (Villa Comunale), you can admire three works representing mythological figures: the Phoenix, the Unicorn and the winged horse Pegasus.
8. The Dome: a cathedral that deceives
In 1080 a bishop decided to begin the works on an ancient Roman temple to symbolise ecclesiastical power. Salerno's historical centre saw the birth of one of its main monuments, the Duomo or Cathedral of Santa Maria degli Angeli.
On the outside, the baroque facade doesn't wow you. Still as soon as you step through the entrance, you'll feel like you're in an Arabian village, with columns from the Roman Forum, decorated arches and an Arab-Norman bell tower. Of great interest is the crypt that holds the remains of St. Matthew, patron saint of Salerno, and one of the few popes not buried in Rome.
"Salerno, rhyme of winter, O sweet winter. Salerno, rhyme of eternity."
7. The Drapparia and the historical centre
In the historical centre, just a few minutes away from the cathedral, you can reach Drapparia, Salerno main commercial street in the Middle Ages, due to its drapery and fabrics shops. Today known as Via dei Mercanti, it is still the epicentre of commercial activities, especially independent ones such as craft shops, antique dealers and even delicious pastry shops.
You will only get the true soul of the city by wandering around the medieval centre, among its churches and palaces, its narrow streets with small views and murals, as well as its many bars and cafés.
At the end of the old town, in the direction of the railway station, it's located the elegant Corso Vittorio Emanuele. A pedestrian area of about two kilometres with a variety of shops, from the most refined to large fashion chains.
6. The Villa Comunale: the city's garden
A beautiful, lush 'garden' welcomes all those arriving in Salerno from the north side of the city. Near the harbour and the Verdi Theatre stands the famous Villa Comunale, designed in 1870 to link the old town and the other towns around. Now a place for meeting and relaxing for many people of Salerno, especially on hot summer days.
A true oasis of greenery and coolness where you can admire rare Mediterranean botanical species, statues of historical figures and drink cool water from the monumental fountain, known as Fontana di Don Tullio.
...from the windows of Salerno, we made another drawing of that incredibly pleasant and fertile locality... Who would not have been inclined to study there, in the good old days when the High School flourished?
5. Minerva Garden
The first botanical garden of Europe was born in the heart of Salerno's historic centre, today known as Minerva Garden. The terraced path will bring you to the top of the hill, where you will find the garden overlooking the sea. There you can admire 300 species of plants, including the legendary mandrake, a plant of extraordinary properties.
In addition to the guided tours, you can taste delicious herbal teas from the comfort of a table while enjoying the stunning view of the Gulf of Salerno.
4. The castle on the 'Buongiorno' hill
Arechi II, a Lombard duke, moved the duchy's capital from Benevento to Salerno and began the construction of Arechi Castle.
On one of the most spectacular heights in Campania, Mount Bonadies (which literally means Good Morning) stands the medieval fortress. At 300 metres above sea level, you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the splendid gulf and the city. Inside the castle, it is possible to visit a small archaeological museum, where finds from excavations carried out on the site such as ceramics, glass and coins are displayed.
3. The Seafront Trieste
The Seafront or Lungomare Trieste was once considered the most beautiful of Italy. There you can take the sea promenade for about two kilometres, relax on a bench and admire the magnificent view of the Amalfi Coast.
The Seafront links the harbour near Piazza Della Concordia with the famous Santa Teresa beach in front of the historic centre. It is one of the main meeting places for many young and older people.
2. The futuristic Maritime Station
At the end of the Seafront, you will find Salerno's Maritime Station, opened in 2016 and directly connected to Europe's most extensive new square, Piazza Della Libertà. Its 'futuristic' oyster-shaped architecture, with curves and extended sides, gives the city a sense of modernity and prestige.
Spread over two levels, between the commercial port and the waterfront, the Maritime Station is home to administrative offices, ferry and cruise ship terminals.
Salerno is a pleasant discovery, there is ferment, culture, a culture that comes from afar, that you can breathe in the landscape, in the monuments, among the people...
1. Piazza Della Libertà: the water mirror
After more than 15 years of work and waiting, Piazza Della Libertà opened in September 2021, the largest seaside square in Italy. An ambitious urban renovation project at the door of the city, a link between the Seafront, the Maritime Station and the surrounding monuments.
The building in the centre of the square is semi-circular. In contrast, the Piazza is triangular, with two ramps running in opposite directions. The triangle's apex is the so-called diamond, considered the water mirror, a design with a strong visual impact that makes Salerno an impressive and creative city.