Welcome to Salerno
Salerno is a medium-sized city (about 200,000 inhabitants) mainly dedicated to commerce and services thanks to its dynamic port and its fortunate position at the center of important railway and motorway junctions. Tourism is becoming an increasingly important part of the city's budget following an intense urban renewal and recovery of the architectural heritage in the characteristic old town. To testify to this new vocation is the remarkable presence of B&Bs throughout the city. The province, of which Salerno is the capital, is one of the largest in Italy, but also one of the least populated, leaving plenty of space for nature. 60% of the provincial territory is protected by UNESCO, which has recognized its high natural, historical and artistic value. The city is often also referred to as the Hippocratica civitas, a reference to its glorious Salernitan medical school which made Salerno an excellence center for medicine in the Middle Ages, where Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Arab medical traditions met and studied, and where women not only studied but also taught, and among these the most important female doctors were Trotula de Ruggiero, Abella salernitana, Rebecca Guarna, Mercuriade, Costanza (or Costanzella) Calenda, Francesca Romana.
The city in the Middle Ages: what to see
The Middle Ages were the period of greatest splendor of the city where it played a leading role in the historical events of Southern Italy and was a cultural beacon for the whole of the European continent. The Old Town, skilfully recovered after the damage caused by the 1980 earthquake, retains its original structure intact with its alleys and sudden openings that open up to the view and which today host the many places where the nightlife and entertainment of the Salernitans concentrate. The structure of the ancient city is determined by two natural elements, the sea and Mount Bonadies whose slopes reach the beach. The characteristic triangular structure is given by the walls built at the edge of the long beach, to protect the settlement from the dangers coming from the sea, which climbed the mountain, together with the settlement, to join the castle of Arechi, a grim fortress so impregnable that it was never conquered and which, unlike other castles, was not transformed into a noble palace. From this splendid and rugged fortress, tourists can have a complete view from above of the entire town of Salerno, the port and the Gulf. The defense to the east was guaranteed by the strong La Carnale located on a small rocky promontory which owes its name to a glorious and sudden sortie of the Salernitans against the Saracen vanguards who in 872 were organizing the camp for the siege. Such was the slaughter of enemies left to putrefy that the place was called theCarnaio (carnage).
To be noted for a visit is the Cathedral, built by the Norman prince Robert the Guiscard and dedicated to the patron saint San Matteo; the provincial museum, the diocesan museum and the museum of the Salernitan Medical School; the sixteenth-century Church of the Annunciation with a beautiful Baroque bell tower of Sanfelice; Piazza Flavio Gioia, called the Rotonda for its characteristic shape on which the eighteenth-century Porta Nuova opens from which you enter the old city; the sumptuous and alluring Baroque churches scattered throughout the city.
The seafront and urban parks
Salerno is squeezed between the mountains and the sea and therefore develops along the coast, as a result of the city's configuration there are four seafronts. The oldest and most famous of the four is the Trieste seafront which serves the western part and the old town. Along the three tree-lined lanes that line the sea of the Trieste seafront, the Salernitans meet to walk and enjoy the view of the Gulf, have something to eat in the many bars and kiosks located here or wait pleasantly for their ferry departing from one of the ports at the ends of the seafront. As for public green spaces, this is guaranteed by the four main parks located within the city and a dense network of municipal villas and minor gardens.
The Mercatello Park, with its 10 hectares of extension, is one of the largest urban parks in Italy in relation to the number of residents (connecting three districts: Mariconda, Mercatello and the Europa District);
the Pinocchio Park is dedicated to the little ones while the adjacent Irno Park wants to play a didactic as well as relaxing role; the Seminary Park offers spectacular views thanks to its terraces. The municipal villa is perhaps one of the most beloved places for Salernitans who, under its century-old trees, seek freshness especially in summer. The Gardens of Minerva represent a successful experiment. In addition to being a beautiful green lung, these gardens occupy the area where the doctors of the Salernitan medical school cultivated plants to be used for the production of medicines. Among the ancient tanks it is now possible to observe many plant species with the relative informative sign. If the didactic and informative purpose is given by the well-stocked botanical garden and the small conference room, the recreational purpose is given by the herbal tea room where you can order decoctions, infusions, macerates, aperitifs, typical biscuits to be consumed on the tables placed on the splendid terrace with a view of the ancient city. The reception of tourists is ensured by several large hotels and a dense network of bed and breakfasts and a well-equipped campsite with a camper stop area.
Where is Salerno located
Salerno is very fortunate in its geographical position, located between the Amalfi Coast and the Cilento Coast, 200 km of beautiful coasts that attract hordes of tourists. From the tourist port and the maritime station, located at the Manfredi pier, ferries depart for the Divine Coast and for the islands of Ischia and Capri. An efficient Sita bus system is added to the ferries and guarantees connections with Maiori and Minori, (located about 20 km away), with Atrani and the adjacent Amalfi, (located about 25 km away), with Ravello with its spectacular views, (located about 29 km away), and with the renowned Positano, (located about 42 km away).
South of the city is the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with its many tourist destinations, including Acciaroli (about 78 km away), the excavations of the famous city of Velia and the municipality of Ascea (about 85 km away), Casal Velino (about 82 km away) and Pisciotta (about 97 km away). The Cape Palinuro promontory with its splendid caves is 116 km away, and the beaches of Marina di Camerota are 120 km away. Worth a visit, even if far away, are the beautiful tourist resorts of the Gulf of Policastro, with the beautiful Sapri. Culture lovers can visit the excavations of Paestum with its spectacular temples (about 41 km away), and the very close excavations of Pompeii (30 km all by motorway). The city of Naples is only 50 km away by motorway.
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