Excursions :: Salerno
Salerno is located on the gulf of the same name and grew up
between the hills and the sea.
It was famous during the past for its renowned Medical School, founded during the
ninth century and by the eleventh century it was widely acknowledged by contemporaries
as the centre of medical knowledge in western Europe.
Salerno is a very lively and modern city today: in fact, a large part of the urban
structure of the coastline was built at the end of the 19th century. The historic
center is the heart of the town: here it is possible to admire both the traces of
its ancient history and the fervour of artisan shops and places for cultural and
musical aggregation attended by thousands of people. The magnificent Salerno cathedral
(1076-1085), dedicated to St. Matthew and built by Robert Guiscard, stands in the
picturesque Medieval complex: the most striking external feature is the bell tower
(mid-12th century), with small arcades and mullioned windows, standing 56 m high
and in Arabic-Norman style. The façade has a Romanesque portal with Byzantine-style
bronze doors from Constantinople (1099), with 56 panels with figures, crosses and
stories from Jesus's life. The entrance has a portico with 28 antique columns whose
pointed arches, with lava rock intarsia, show influence of Arab art, and contains
a series of ancient Roman sarcophagi. The Duomo Museum houses artworks from different
ages, including the silver statues of the Salerno Martyrs (13th century) and documents
of Salerno Medical School.
Another important monuments of Salerno's shining past are the Arechi Castle (Castello
di Arechi), a massive castle commanding the city from a 300 m hill and enlarged
by Arechi II over a pre-existing Roman-Byzantine construction; St. George Church,
the most noteworthy Baroque church in Salerno, thanks to its high-quality frescoes
by Francesco and Angelo Solimena (late seventeenth century); St. Pietro a Corte
Church, seat of the Lombard Court.
Do not miss to visit the Archaeological Area of Fratte, the Domus Romana (an ancient
Roman house), the Diocesan Museum, the Province Archaeological Museum and "Schola
Medica Salernitana" Museum.
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