Salerno is a city located on the Amalfi Coast and is one of the most unknown corners. It offers the traveler many corners to explore and get lost.
Its history, the churches, its particular coast, the nature of its surroundings and the legacy of centuries and centuries mixed with the modernization of recent times gives rise to a city with a special charm.
The city of Salerno is the second most populated city in Campania after Naples and is especially known for its ancient Salernitana Medical School, which was the first and most important medical institution in medieval Europe, and which is considered “the mother of modern universities.
History of Salerno
Salerno was founded by the Romans and was later the capital of an independent Lombard principality from the mid-9th century until the Norman conquest of southern Italy. In 1077 the city was conquered by the Norman Roberto Guiscardo and ceased to be the capital of his great Lombard principality, and its domains were included in the Duchy of Apulia and Calabria.
The Normans in 1078 moved their capital from Melfi to Salerno, which was called Opulenta Salernum and with its Schola Medica Salernitana was the cultural center of all of southern Italy.
The Normans uniting their possessions in Puglia-Calabria with those of the Principality of Salerno, which was the forerunner of the Kingdom of Sicily created in 1130.
With Federico II the decline of Salerno began: the capital of southern Italy was transferred to Naples, which thus began its growth while Salerno was losing importance.
The city had its last period of glory with Prince Ferrante Sanseverino in the 16th century, who with his ideals of the Italian Renaissance opposed the dictates of the Inquisition and was subsequently banished. The title of “Prince of Salerno” was left vacant and the city entered a phase of complete decline.
In Napoleon’s time, Salerno was a small town of barely 3,000 inhabitants, even what was left of its Schola Medica, was closed. Only with the 19th century Risorgimento has Salerno begun to recover its original level, becoming again in a few decades a very important city in southern Italy.
In the more recent past, Salerno was famous for having sheltered King Victor Emmanuel III during World War II. On that occasion, Salerno was the capital of Italy for almost a year.
Sitios de interés de Salerno
- Medieval quarter: it is the oldest part of Salerno and preserves many high medieval palaces. In its center stands the cathedral, the main attraction of the old town. Its main street, Via dei Mercanti, is a pedestrian street full of shops, restaurants, cafeterias,… and which continue to maintain the original medieval and religious architecture.
- The Cathedral of Salerno, dedicated to Santa Maria degli Angeli, San Matteo e San Gregorio VII is the main place of worship in the city. Of Norman architecture and built in the 11th century, to this day it preserves its façade in quite good condition. It contains the remains of San Mateo Evangelista, patron saint of the city.
- Palazzo di Città: Salerno’s town hall building was built during the Fascist era and was the seat of the Italian government in 1944, when Salerno was the capital of Italy.
- Palazzo Pinto: Renaissance palace located in the center of the Via dei mercanti and which contains the Provincial Art Gallery.
- Villa Comunale: it is a beautiful garden in the heart of the medieval city.
- The Fontana di Don Tullio, also popularly known as Fontana di Esculapio, was the origin of this garden. It is a Baroque-style fountain that originally housed a bust of Asclepius, the Greek God of Medicine. Later, it was replaced in the 19th century by a cherub.
- Lungomare Trieste: this is the seafront of Salerno, created after World War II, modeled after the promenades of the French Côte d’Azur.
- Port of Salerno: 3 kilometers from the historic center and is the place where cruise ships dock.
- Arechi Castle: this is the medieval castle of the city and the best is its views over the Amalfi Coast and the city itself.
- Giardino della Minerva: the first botanical garden in Europe and founded by the Schola Medica Salernitana.
- Fort La Carnale: medieval fort currently dedicated to shows and exhibitions.
- Area archeologica etrusco-sannitica di Fratte: is an archaeological area of the ancient Etruscans that includes a large necropolis.
- Teatro Verdi: a theater built in 1872 that contains paintings by Gaetano d’Agostino.
- Palazzo Genovese. Palace in Baroque style by the architect Ferdinando Sanfelice.
- Palazzo De Ruggiero. Palace from the 16th century, located near the cathedral.
- Castel Terracena,Palazzo Fruscione, Palazzo Copeta, Palazzo d’Avossa, Palazzo Ruggi d’Aragona, Palazzo Morese. These 17th century palaces rise up in the historic center of Salerno, around the cathedral.
- Chiesa della SS. Announcement. This 14th century church has a famous tower, made by the architect Ferdinando Sanfelice.
- Chiesa dell’Annunziatella: church is located near the ancient Roman forum and has a famous 16th century fountain at its entrance.
- Chiesa del SS. Crocifisso: medieval church with a crypt from before the 10th century.
- Chiesa di San Gregorio: 10th-century church, near the Via dei mercanti and contains a Didactic Museum of the Medical School of Salerno.
- Chiesa di San Giorgio: the most beautiful Baroque church in the city, containing paintings by Andrea Sabatini and Francesco Solimena.
- Chiesa di San Pietro in Vinculis: Medieval church with frescoes and paintings from the Italian Renaissance.
- Chiesa di San Pietro a Corte: Lombard church from the 9th century. Famous for its “Cappella Palatina” of the Lombard prince Arechis IV.
- Museo Archeologico Provinciale: a museum housed in the old Benedectine monastery of Salerno and contains a famous head of Apollo from ancient Rome.
- Museo Didattico della Scuola Medica Salernitana: contains valuable works from the Lombard era of Salerno and its medical school.
- Museo Diocesano di Salerno: located near the cathedral, it contains many works of liturgical art.