The 18 best sights of Salerno – descriptions and photos

What is worth seeing in Salerno?

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Salerno is an Italian city and port on the Tyrrhenian Sea with a population of over 145,000 people. Salerno is about 55 km from Naples. If you find yourself in Naples, do not deny yourself the pleasure of traveling to this popular city, because there are so many interesting things to see! For example:

Salerno Cathedral (Duomo di Salerno)

One of the main attractions of Salerno. Famous for housing the relics of St. Matthew in the crypt under the altar. There is also the tomb of Pope Gregory VII (Pope who ruled in the 11th century). The Romanesque style Cathedral was built in the 11th century and then in the 18th century, during the restoration of the church some Baroque elements were added. It is impossible not to notice the beautiful 52-meter high tower, an Arab-Norman style bell tower which was added in the 12th century. The interior decoration is rich and luxurious – sculptures, mosaics, paintings by Francesco Solimena, a statue of Madonna and Child of the 14th century. The main façade is guarded by figures of lions and a fresco of St. Matthew of the XVII century. The door itself is a work of art as it consists of 54 plates with different images.

There are also details from the Roman period in the cathedral, such as columns and semicircular arches with stucco. The galleries of the second tier were made according to all canons of the Mediterranean architecture. The archives of the first European university, the Medical School, and the tombs of the members of the clergy are the cathedral’s pride.

Address: Piazza Alfano I

Temples in Pestum

First, Pestum (Paestum, or as it is also known as “Posidonia”) is a Greek colony founded at the end of the 7th century B.C. in the area of present Salerno. The colony had a great development in the 5th century B.C., then was conquered by the Lucanians, colonized by the Romans and finally ruined in the 11th century. The locals abandoned the settlement, leaving behind splendid structures and established a new town, Capaccio, in the mountains. These “remnants” are three ancient temples that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The entire complex holds thousands of mysteries. In particular, the Diver’s Tomb, the only such fresco from the classical period of 480-470 B.C. in the world, was recently discovered. The plot of the fresco depicts the transition of the soul to the afterlife, a jump into the ocean of Death (hence the diver).

One of the temples of Pestum is the Temple of Hera-I (also called “Basilica”). Hera is the patroness of marriage, the supreme goddess and wife of Zeus. This is one of the most striking examples of Doric architecture and the oldest temple in Pestum. This monument, almost in pristine condition, is particularly striking with its 50 massive external columns (the odd number of columns, by the way, is not typical of Greek temples). The temple has a two-nave cella (i.e. the inner part), so it is considered to be the only one of its kind in Italy.

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The temple of Hera-II was previously associated with the names of Apollo and Neptune, but archaeological excavations have led to the discovery of various statuettes and coins depicting Hera, so that both temples bear the same name. This temple is quite similar to the previous building. This temple is called the “temple of Poseidon. It was built presumably in the 5th century BC. The building consists, by and large, only of the base, the columns. And there are 20 columns – 6 frontal columns and 14 side. Incredible building and incredible architectural complex that will impress you to the core.

How to find: Paestum Salerno, between Via Porta Marina, Via Nettuno and Via Magna Grecia.

Vietri sul Mare Ceramics Museum

The museum was built more or less recently, in 1981, in Vietri sul Mare, 5 km from the center of Salerno. In the museum you can see a variety of works of Italian masters from different centuries. Particularly interesting is the collection of ceramics, which is divided into three parts: ceramics from the German period, religious objects and everyday objects. These ceramic pieces include religious fonts from the 17th century, as well as paintings of the Baptism of Christ, the Madonna and Child, Saint John the Baptist beheaded, the Resurrection of Jesus and others. As for everyday objects, the collections include vases and plates of the XIX century and tiles with pictures from the lives of ordinary Romans.

Ceramics from the German period are from the 1920s and 1940s by the likes of John Carrano, Richard Dolker, Vincenzo Procida and many others.

Address: Via Cristoforo Colombo, on the coast, in the center of town.

Pinacoteca Provinciale

Lovers of art should not miss the gallery in the heart of the historic quarter of Salerno. The museum is in six sections and offers visitors a fascinating collection of art, from the Renaissance to the first half of the 20th century. Of particular interest are the paintings of the local artist Andrea Sabatini da Salerno, in whose work the influence of the great Leonardo da Vinci can be seen, and enjoy a variety of works by foreign artists who have come to this picturesque coast for inspiration. These include intricate prints by Austrian master Peter Wilburger (1942-1998) and a vivid painting of the local market by Polish artist Irene Kowalska. In the summer, the museum often hosts free classical music concerts. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Address: Via Mercanti 63

Castello di Arechi

Take bus number 19 at the stop in Piazza XXIV Maggio and go north from Salerno to visit the most famous castle of Salerno. The entire journey will take no more than 20 minutes. Built on the site of a Byzantine fort in the 8th century, the castle was rebuilt and reconstructed in the following centuries. The last time it was heavily modified in the 16th century. The Castello is above sea level, on a hill, so it offers an impressive view of the bay and the city rooftops of Salerno. In the castle you can visit the permanent collection of ceramics, weapons and coins (open 9.00-15.30). If you come to Salerno during the summer months, ask at the tourist office about concerts organized and held in this austere building.

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Top 11 attractions of Salerno. What to see in Salerno.

What to see in Salerno

Top 11 attractions of Salerno. What to see in Salerno.

The spa town of Salerno is one of the most beautiful cities in southern Italy, a city with a thousand years of history, the birthplace of the first Medical School of Europe, the Cathedral with the relics of the Evangelist Matthew, the unspoiled streets of the historic center, the sea and the extraordinary cuisine. In short, Salerno has many interesting places to see. Often tourists hurriedly pass by this charming coastal city, preferring other places in Campania, thus losing the opportunity to discover a city rich in history, with hidden treasures and beautiful corners. A stop in Salerno is an ideal starting point for visiting Pompeii, Herculaneum, Mount Vesuvius, the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Pestum. Capri and Pestum. We offer you ideas for an unforgettable trip and the top 11 places of interest in and around Salerno that you can and should see.

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Excursion to Salerno

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Salerno Top 11 Sightseeing Excursions

1. Salerno Cathedral

Don’t let the banal baroque facade disappoint you, because the beauty of Salerno Cathedral hides inside. The church was built in the 11th century in the Romanesque style and has been rebuilt several times since. The polychrome inlays, the Roman marble colonnade, ancient sarcophagi, arches decorated with incrustations of volcanic stone, a remarkable 11th century bronze gate, the Arab-Norman bell tower almost 52 meters high. The Baroque interior with Medieval objects, a rare cosmateco flooring and the burial place of Pope Gregory VII is of equal interest. In the church you must visit the crypt where the relics of St. Matthew, one of the four Evangelists, are kept. The underground crypt has a restored 17th century Baroque decoration with scenes from the Gospel of Matthew and episodes from the history of Salerno.

Opening Hours of the Cathedral:

Weekdays: 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Holidays: from 8.30 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 8 pm.

Crypt – weekdays: 9.00 to 19.45

holidays: 8.30 am to 1 pm

Entrance is free

2. the Historic Center Salerno, Historical Center

The pedestrian-friendly Historic Downtown is dotted with stores, bars, restaurants, and craft shops that make it the perfect place for those who love to walk and watch. We start from the Central Station of Salerno and walk along Corso Vittorio Emmanuele which runs parallel to the promenade. Then the road narrows and you enter the oldest part of Salerno, Via dei Mercanti. The narrow street with a maximum width of 5 meters has been the main shopping artery since the Middle Ages. Along Via dei Mercanti you can find the mansions like the seventeenth century Palazzo Pinto where you can see the paintings of the Art Gallery and in front of the building you can find the Virtual Museum of the Medical School of Salerno. In winter the street, like the whole city of Salerno, is decorated with Christmas illuminations Luci D’artista.

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3. Minerva Gardens

In the old center of Salerno are the Minerva Panoramic Gardens, created in the fourteenth century by Matteo Silvatico, important doctor of the famous Salerno Medical School, the oldest medical university in the world. Dott.Silvatico created Europe’s first example of a botanical garden: an educational greenhouse where doctors taught students to recognize “simple” plants used to treat diseases. The garden has more than 380 species of medicinal plants, a small tea room with a panoramic view and a museum of pharmacy.

Ticket price : 3,00 €.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 9.30 to 16.30.

How to get there: Vicolo Ferrante Sanseverino n°1, from the historic center on foot.

4. The Castle of Arechi (Arechis)

If you want a great view, you have to go up to the fortress. Salerno was for three centuries the capital of the Lombard principality. Prince Arechi II moved the capital of the duchy from Benevento to Salerno and fortified the castle at 300 meters above sea level, creating an almost impregnable bastion of southern Italy. The fortified castle was inserted into the more articulated urban defensive system of the city, which surrounded the old city of Salerno. Well, today the halls house a museum with coins, pottery and finds that tell the story of Salerno, medieval defensive structures, bar and the fortress organizes city conventions and manifestations. You can book an excursion and enjoy a wide sea view from the Amalfi Coast to the Pestum from one of the highest points of the city.

Open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from 9 am to 3:30 pm.

Closed Monday.

5. The complex of San Pietro a Corte

Following the Via dei Mercanti you reach Larghetto San Pietro a Corte, one of the most important places in the history of Salerno. The space is occupied by the complex of San Pietro in Corte, which over the centuries has served various functions. In general, the complex has preserved the memory of different eras: 4 meters under the ground are Roman thermae, which in the early Christian period were used for burials and religious rites. In the Middle Ages, the residence of Prince Arechi II was built, of which the Palace Chapel and the bell tower have been preserved. The site also served as a gathering place for the people’s assembly and the graduation of students of the Medical School of Salerno.

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Hours of operation:

Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Closed on Monday.

Admission is free.

6. Salerno Promenade

In Salerno by the sea there is the intimate promenade of Trieste which was considered the most beautiful in Italy in the 50s. The promenade of Salerno consists of three parallel alleys over 1.5 km long with Mediterranean plantings, palm trees. The benches overlooking the sea offer spectacular views of the Bay of Salerno and the Amalfi Coast, an ideal place for a relaxing break after a busy day. At the end of the promenade is the beach of Santa Teresa and Villa Comunale, which during the Christmas season is transformed into the “Enchanted Garden” from the exhibition of artistic illuminations. A beautiful garden that surprises and delights all its visitors both in summer and winter. A little further away is the new seaport, designed by the Anglo-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, which has won several awards and has been noted as one of the best architectural works in the world.

7. Rays D’Artista in Salerno

Every year during the Christmas season, Salerno opens the Luci d’Artista event, which illuminates the streets of the city with effective illuminations. From the beginning of November to the end of January, Salerno’s main squares, streets, parks and Villa Comunale are decorated with themed Christmas lights. Almost a million people come every year to admire the unique show. The event also includes several Christmas markets located in different parts of the city with typical products. Christmas begins with the installation of Europe’s biggest Ferris wheel by the sea on the seafront.

8. Amalfi Coast

Salerno is the starting point for a trip along the Amalfi Coast: Vietri, Maiori, Minori, Ravello, Amalfi and Positano are just some of the seaside villages found along the picturesque coastline, protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We start in Vietri, a recognized city of majolica ceramics, pass Cetara home of tuna and anchovies, the lemon gardens of Maiori and Minori and go up to Ravello, a place loved by artists from around the world, reach Amalfi with its wonderful Cathedral, Furore with its fjord, Positano doll’s and past other enchanting places. In short, it is a marvel that deserves more than a few days to visit, and if you are short of time you can take a tour of the Amalfi Coast.

9. Pestum

Staying in Salerno you can’t miss Pestum. In the south of Salerno you will find Pestum between the mountains and the 100 km long sandy coastline. Pestum (Poseidonia) is the largest Greek colony of the VI century before Christ. The excavations of antique Pestum are famous all over the world for the temples that are among the most interesting and important in Italy. The triad of magnificent Doric temples dedicated to Neptune, Hera and Ceres is full of charm and architectural splendor. An impressive archaeological area, surrounded by stone walls, streets, the Forum, the Capitol, the Amphitheater, etc. A visit to the excavations at Pestum should not be missed without a visit to the Archaeological Museum, where you can appreciate the important collection of ancient Greek objects from Southern Italy, the Lucan painted tombs, the burial of Gouda, interesting funerary objects from different ages, archaic metopes and of course the Tomb of the Diver. Pestum is known not only for excavations, but also for the best mozzarella, which is produced exclusively from buffalo milk. And being in Salerno you can’t miss the real flavor of Italian cheese, try the real mozzarella at the producer’s farm.

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Opening Hours

Pestum Museum is open from 8:30 to 19:30

1st and 3rd Mondays of the month 8:30 to 13:40

The Archaeological area ( Temples ) is open every day from 8:30 to 7:30 pm.

The terrain is a little bumpy, so comfortable shoes are recommended.

Pestum tours
  • Pestum: temples + mozzarella and wine for 7 hours
  • Temples of Pestum for 2.5 hours

10. Pompeii and the volcano Vesuvius

You have chosen Salerno for your vacation, then you can’t miss visiting the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii and climbing the volcano Vesuvius. Pompeii is located 30 km from Salerno and is a famous city that was buried in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. A walk through the streets of ancient Pompeii offers a unique opportunity to admire the scope of the excavations and to touch the daily life of the ancient inhabitants. Plan your walk in Pompeii for at least 3 hours and then it’s time to climb Mount Vesuvius. Together with Etna and Stromboli, Vesuvius is one of the active volcanoes in Italy and one of the favorite tourist attractions from all over the world.

There are many organized excursions to Pompeii and Vesuvius.
  • Excursion to Pompeii 2,5 hours
  • Pompeii – Vesuvius 6 hours
  • Pompeii-Vesuvius-Salerno 8 hours
  • Pompeii – Naples 6 hours

11. the island of Capri

If you are in Salerno you have the opportunity to visit the island of Capri. Sophisticated and elegant Capri, where relaxation is perfectly combined with glamour and walks are filled with nature, the sea and a unique atmosphere. An island that deserves to be explored carefully and where you can forget about time to walk, enjoying the beautiful view, breathing in the Mediterranean scents.

You can visit Capri and not to miss the most interesting things by booking a tour with a Russian guide.

Island of Capri /6 hours
You may be interested:
  • Beaches of the Amalfi Coast
  • Top 20 best beaches in Cilento, Salerno. From Pestum to Sapri the most beautiful beaches in Italy.

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