A short drive from the Amalfi Coast, Salerno is a great destination for a day trip. In the course of history, Salerno has seen it all: plagues, earthquakes, invasions. Allied bombings in 1943 destroyed most of the city but there are still many delightful historic attractions for curious travellers.
The old part of Salerno is dominated by the beautiful 11th century Cathedral of San Matteo that has been restored several times. In the crypt, you can see the tomb of the Evangelist Matthew, one of the twelve apostles, and beautiful original mosaics on the floor and choir. Follow the narrow winding cobblestoned streets to explore the beautiful historic centre, among the best preserved in Italy, with charming restaurants, chic boutiques and stunning old palaces.
On a hot summer day, head to the Giardino della Minerva, a garden hidden between old palazzi. One of the first botanic gardens in Europe, in Middle Ages, it was an important centre for cultivating medicinal plants. From the garden’s terraces you can admire stupendous view over the Bay of Salerno.
|Cathedral of Salerno|
Another famous landmark is the Arechi Castle (Castello di Arechi) that today is used as an exhibition and conference centre. From here, you can admire the majestic views of the city, Amalfi Coast and the Gulf of Salerno.
Salerno is famous for its splendid seaside promenade lined with palm trees and stretching for five miles. Locals come here for the customary passeggiata, a long stroll before dinner, so you can join them to people watch and gape at spectacular mountain views.
You will find many good restaurants that serve delicious traditional dishes in the historic part of Salerno. II Vicolo delle Neve, one of the oldest restaurants in the city apart from excellent pizza serves excellent local specialties such as pasta e fagioli with lard, ciambotta stew, baccalà fish with potatoes and many others.
Photos via Flickr by: Andrey Belenko, Chiara Marra, Pietro Valocchi.