The Medical School of Salerno reached its peak of splendor between the 10th and 13th centuries, allowing the city of Salerno to boast the title of "Hippocratica Civitas" (Hippocratic City), a title that still appears in its coat of arms.
In 1231, Emperor Frederick II established that only doctors with a diploma issued by the Salernitan Medical School could practice the medical art. The teaching of the Salerno Medical School was based on the classics elaborated by the ancient doctors Hippocrates and Galen, although the true heart of the teachings was based on experimentation and experience that each doctor gained in the care of the sick and which he transmitted to his students. The translation of Arabic texts further enriched the knowledge base.

An old legend has it that the Salerno Medical School was founded by four masters: the Latin Salerno, the Greek Ponto, the Hebrew Elino and the Arab Adela. Much more prosaically, the birth of this institute is probably due to a slow process that began in the many monasteries of Salerno concentrated in a safe area on Mount Bonadies halfway between the city, extended along the beach, and the castle. One of the activities of the monks is the care of the sick with the relative production of drugs derived from plants and it must be in this world that the medicine from pious work must have been transformed into a discipline. Although it has no historical relevance, this legend gives us an insight into the spirit of this important school that drew on all traditions, including that of the Arabs with whom the West had a very conflictual relationship, and reworked them in an innovative way.

The Trotula of Ruggiero and the other famous female doctors of antiquity.

The Medical School of Salerno represented an incredible experience for openness to the point of having not only female students but even female teachers who were no longer relegated to the role of mere midwives but could access the higher ranks of the university hierarchy as well as being able to practice the medical art. The first to remember them was a Salernitan historian, Antonio Mazza, prior of the School of Medicine in the 17th century, who in the essay "Historiarum epitome de rebus salernitanis" writes "We have many learned women, who in many fields surpassed or equaled in ingenuity and doctrine not a few men and, like men, were remarkable in the field of medicine". Among the most famous mulieres salernitanae we can cite:

Abella Salernitana, who wrote two treatises, de atrabile (On Black Bile) and de natura seminis humani (On the Nature of Human Seed);
Mercuriade, to whom studies on plague, crises and methods for treating wounds are attributed;
Costanza Calenda, daughter of the famous doctor Salvatore Calenda, who worked in the 15th century;
Rebecca Guarna, who wrote works on the embryo, urine and fevers;
Francesca Romana, a talented surgeon of the 12th century;

Trotula de Ruggero was the most famous of all and her fame was such throughout Europe that she became almost a legendary figure. Living in the 11th century, she dealt with women's diseases, surgery and even cosmetics (in the Middle Ages the distinction was not as clear as it is today), her treatises were for a long time the basis of medicine for women. She wrote De passionibus mulierum ante in et post partum (On the Diseases of Women Before and After Childbirth) and De ornatu mulierum (On Women's Cosmetics). It is said that she was one of the most beautiful women of her historical period and that she married the famous doctor Giovanni Plateario, called the Old to distinguish him from his son. From their union were born the Magistri Platearii, namely Giovanni the Young and Matteo, who continued their parents' activity. In a historical period in which moral and/or philosophical precepts easily invaded scientific works, Trotula de Ruggero's treatises stand out for their absolute scientific rigor and the acuteness of their observations.