Where to stay in Amalfi Coast ?
Stay in Salerno and choose the Dimora Salernum B&B. This charming city positioned halfway between the mountains of the Sorrentino peninsula and the wide plain of the Sele River, at the base of the Gulf of Salerno. Salerno is a city rich in monuments and interesting places to discover. The city has its origins in ancient times and archaeological excavation has brought to light a 6th century necropolis which demonstrates the existence of an Etruscan settlement, which was then taken over by the Greeks, finally to become a Roman colony in 197 B.C. The city developed around the Roman city and then spread out in the Middle Ages under the Longobards. Under Arechi II the defensive system of the walled town was built which rose as high as Mount Bonadies and descended towards the sea. The urban plan of the Longobards remained virtually unchanged until the 12th century and then was subsequently modified under the Normans, the Suevians and the Anjevins until it attained its definitive shape in the 1300s.
As a testament to its 1000 year-old history, the extraordinary old historic centre remains intact and suggestive, defined also as a ‘Medieval jewel’ by the Salerno poet Alfonso Gatto due to its enormous wealth of works from the Longobard and Norman periods.
Where to stay in Amalfi Coast? Choose Salerno!
If you decide to make Salerno your base in order to visit the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Paestum and Naples, you must visit its marvellous old Historic Town Centre
Considered one of the best preserved in Italy, the historic town centre of Salerno is a warren of narrow streets and alleyways that lead past fascinating period buildings, picturesque workshops and precious examples of religious architecture.The twenty historical districts of Salerno are still identifiable today, although in some cases the vestiges of the ancient settlement have completely disappeared. The whole night scene has been transformed, and every evening this area fills with young people, laughing and talking and where the contrast between the old and the new is evident as new bars, pubs and restaurants open.
The Cathedral of Salerno
Walking through the streets you can admire a large number of churches, the most prominent being the Cathedral (il Duomo), built in Romanic style between 1080 and 1085 by Roberto il Guiscardo and consecrated by Pope Gregory VII with the Lion gates which draw you into the solemn portico .The Arabic-Norman bell tower has great artistic and historical value and rises to almost 52 metres. You absolutely must not miss the large Byzantine mosaics, the crypt and the silver statue of Saint Matthew which is carried through the city each year in a procession on the 21 September. Adjacent to the Cathedral is the Diocesan Museum where an impressive collection of works of art from the medieval period to the 18th century is kept.
Other religious buildings that should be seen in the old historic centre of Salerno are the Church of Sant’Andrea de Lama, an ancient church dating back to the 9th century and so-called because of the River Lavina which flows beneath the road it is on and the Church of Santa Maria de Lama, which preserves the sole examples of paintings from the Longobard period in Salerno. Visit also the Complesso Monumentale di San Pietro a Corte, one of the most suggestive religious buildings in the city as well as being steeped in history and don’t miss the Church of San Gregorio, which houses the Virtual Museum of the Salerno Medical School where you can revisit the personages and stories of that glorious page in history which saw Salerno at the centre of Western scientific thought. Another building worth looking at is the Complesso di San Benedetto, where you can visit the Provincial Archaeological Museum which contains splendid examples of archaeological finds from the whole province of Salerno.
Amongst the many examples of lay architecture present in the old historic centre we would point out Palazzo Fruscione, built during the 13th century and considered the most important structure in the history of civil architecture in Salerno, as well as Palazzo Pinto, a 17th century residence which owes its name to one of the most illustrious families in Salerno. It currently houses the Provincial Art Gallery and exhibits a number of valuable paintings from the Renaissance period to modern times. The Verdi Theatre is the main theatre of the city and was built by the architects Antonio D’Amora and Giuseppe Manichini, who based their measurements and proportions on the San Carlo Theatre in Naples. And finally it is a good idea to see the Acquedotto Medievale (Medieval Aqueduct), a mysterious water system built by the Longobards in the 7th century and restored by the Normans in the 11th century to supply water to the San Benedetto Monastery. It is also known as the “Devil’s Bridge” as according to local legend it was built in a single night by the Salerno wizard, Pietro Barliario, with the aid of demons.
Once again in the centre of the city, there are two green areas of particular interest: the Minerva Gardens, a famous botanical garden with ancient origins, created by Matteo Silvatico as an outdoor classroom for the cultivation of medicinal plants which were useful to the Salerno Medical School and the Public Gardens, designed in 1874 by the architect Casalbore, with its famous fountain named after don Tullio, or rather, Asclepius, built in 1790 to refresh overseas visitors and street traders.
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Stay in Salerno and visit its historical center, a journey into the past through modern, through the many eras that have colored its long history!