Need a great base to explore the Amalfi Coast? In many ways Salerno is the best choice of all.
Why you ask?
Well, let's start with these 9 reasons to visit Salerno:
Stay in the old town for a few days and you'll surely fall in love too. I always stay at the Antichi Riverbi, a little apartment in the heart of the old town.
Here I feel like a local.
Mornings start with cappuccino & croissant at the little hole-in-the-wall bar across the way. Give it a day or two and you're greeted like one of the locals, like your arrival is the highlight of their day.
That makes my day right from the get-go.
Dinner and lunch are my favorite times of the day. Tiny little restaurants, only a handful of tables, are everywhere. Inside there is always lots of chaos going on with family arguments and southern passion spilling out into the narrow lanes of the old town.
That makes me laugh.
The aromas of nonna's cooking makes me go inside. Big portions, home-cooked, local ingredients and amazingly affordable prices.
Southern Italian family cooking gets all the stars in my opinion.
Try the Taverna A'Corte in Lago Antica Corte - huge portions of traditional dishes and the menu depends entirely on what's ready to pick in their little farm and what their cousin brings in on his fishing boat.
You get two choices - land or sea.
Choose one and you'll get either three courses of great seafood or a menu of incredible mozzarella di bufala cheese, vegetables prepared in ways you won't believe and pasta so good you just know you'll be back for more.
After dinner try a gelato at Punto Freddo Gelataria.
Don't miss the gorgeous Cathedral - the Duomo di Salerno.
Outside it is pretty but wait until you get inside.
It is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in all of Italy and home to the crypt of Saint Mathew, one of the twelve apostles. This is one time where the word awesome really does apply.
Arechi Castle is another must-see. The best way to get here is by car. There's a parking area just below the castle.
Don't have your own car? You won't need to walk up the hill - there's no real path up to the top anyway - only the road.
Best option is to jump on the number 19 bus and it'll drop you right there.
The buses run every two hours but go early is my advice as the castle closes at 5 p.m. and then there is the risk that you wait for ages for the bus back down.
Normally, there's a bus every two hours but best is to ask the driver when you get off. Two hours is about enough time to see everything anyway.
It'll cost you four Euros to enter the museum and to walk around the castle walls. The view from up here is stunning.
The oldest School of Medicine in all of Europe was founded in Salerno in the 9th century and there's a little museum dedicated to it in the Church of San Gregoria.
The museum isn't much but the Minerva Botanical Gardens (Giardino della Minerva) where they grew their herbs is fascinating - it's the oldest botanical garden in Europe. Entrance is 3 Euros and the gardens are open from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Other churches worth visiting are the Church of Saint George and the Church of San Pietro a Corte where there are fascinating excavations.
Although it may seem a bit small, this beach is better than most of the other beaches on the Amalfi Coast.
How, I hear you ask.
Well its sandy rather than gravel and stones. It's also free and a lovely beach to experience local beach life. The water is really shallow too - making it great if you've children and there's a little beach bar just behind the beach where you can pick up snacks and drinks.
When you're tired of the beach take a stroll along the beautiful promenade, Lungomare Trieste. You can walk from the beach all the way to the yacht marina - around 30 minutes in all.
All day long, life, along the promenade, is lived in colorful southern style:
Enjoy fashion and boutiques? Then Corso Vittorio Emanuele is where you'll find that. There's also a huge Benetton store and a number of other famous brand-name stores..
Prefer open-air markets? There's one every day in Piazza San Francesco. You'll find some real bargains but you need to look hard - there's lots of junk too.
Looking for something different?
Head to the old town where funny little shops sell everything from mozzarella to ceramics. You need to explore and get lost though, some are tucked away in the unlikeliest-looking narrow lanes.
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