Map of Italy showing Salerrno southeast of Naples
Salerno is a town and a province in Campania, Italy.
The main town of the "Costiera Amalfitana" (the part of coast on the Tyrrhenian sea which includes famous towns like Amalfi, Positano, etc.), it is mostly known in history for having hosted the king of Italy, who escaped from Rome in 1943 after Italy negotiated a peace with the Allies in World War II. A brief so-called "government of the South" was then established in the town. Some of the Allied landings during Operation Avalanche (the invasion of Italy) occurred near Salerno.
Salerno hosted the oldest university in Europe, the Schola Medica Salernitana, the most important source of medical knowledge in Europe in the early middle ages. The University Institute of Magistero "Giovanni Cuomo", founded in 1944, received, therefore, the distinguished heritage of an ancient tradition. Since 1968, when the University of Salerno became public, the enrolments have increasingly grown. Today the two campuses of Fisciano and Baronissi take in over 40.000 students attending the wide range of subjects offered by the 9 Faculties: Economics, Pharmaceutics, Law, Engineering, Humanities, Foreign Languages, Political Science, Natural Science, Mathematics and Physics and Education Science.
Salerno is a very beautiful city situated in the middle of two enchanting coasts, the Amalfi and Cilento coasts.
In 194 b.C. it was a Roman colony and was named Salernum.
The city made progress and also enriched its culture and its traditions during the occupation of Goths, Byzantines, Longobards and Normans.
The Goths were defeated by the Greeks whose domination lastes 15 years (from 53 to 568), up to Longobards invaded almost the whole peninsula.
In 786 Arechi II, a Longobard prince, transferred the seat of the Dukedom of Benevento to Salerno, in order to elude Charlemagne's offensive and to secure himself the control of a strategic area, the centre of coastal and internal communications in Campania.
With Arechi II, Salerno knew great splendour becoming a centre of studies with its famous Medical School. The Longobard prince ordered the city to be fortified; the Castle on the Bonadies mountain had alredy been built with walls and towers so from 839 the new capital was seat of a principality and powerful political centre.
On December 13th 1076 the Norman conqueror Roberto il Guiscardo captures Salerno putting an end to the many-centuried Longobard domain.
In this period the royal palace (Castel Terracena) and the magnificent Cathedral were built and science was boosted as the Salerno Medical School, considered the most ancient medical institution of European West, reached its maximum splendour.
With the accession to the throne of Swabians, at the end of the 12th century, there was a period of economic revival in the city.
By following the advice of Giovanni da Procida, a famous citizen of that time, Manfredi, Federico II's son, ordered a dock that still now has his name, to be built.
Moreover he founded Saint Matthew's Fair, which was the most important in the South of Italy. After the Angevin conquest the city was particularly a work of a famous sculptor, Boboccio da Piperno admired by Queen Margherita di Durazzo who took up her abode in Salerno and was buried in the monumental tomb, which is today in the Cathedral.
From the 14th century onwards, most of the Salerno province became the territory of the Princes of Sanseverino, powerful feudatories, who acted as real owners of the Region. They accumulated an enormus political and administrative power and attracted artists and men of letters inside their own royal palace. In the 15th century the city was the scene of battles between Angevin and Aragonese heirs with whom the local princes took sides alternatively.
In the first decades of the 16th century the last descendant of the Sanseverino princes was in conflict with the Spanish Government, causing the ruin of the whole family and the beginning of a long period of decadence for the city.
The years 1656, 1688 and 1694 represent sorrowful dates for Salerno: the plague and the earthquake which caused many victims.
A slow renewal of the city occurred in the 18th century with the end of the Spanish empire and the construction of many refined houses and churches characterising the main streets of the historical centre.
In 1799 Salerno joined the Parthenopean Republic. During the Napoleonic period Giuseppe Bonaparte and then Gioacchino Murat ascended the throne. The latter issued the decree of soppression of the Salerno Medical School, that had been declining for decades to the level of a theoretical School.
In the same period even the religious Orders were suppressed and numerous ecclesiastical properties were confiscated.
The city expanded beyond the ancient walls and sea connections were potentiated as they represented an important road network that crossed the town connecting the eastern plain with the area leading to Vietri and Naples.
After the Unity of Italy a slow urban development continued, many suburban areas were enlarged and large public and private buildings were created. The city went on developing till the Second World War. In September 1943, Salerno was the scene of the landing of the allies and from February 12th to July 17th 1944 it gave hospitality to the Government of Badoglio.
The post-war period was difficult for all the Italian cities, but Salerno managed to improve little by little and to aim at becoming a modern European city. In recent years the town administration has taken great strides giving a great impulse to the revaluation of the whole urban territory.
The rewal of the historical centre has been directed towards the rediscovery of the artistic and cultural treasures of an exceptional land.
Salerno appears more and more as a welcoming community for tourists from all over the world with its enchanting historical centre where 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.
Salerno is a charming synthesis of what the Mediterranean can offer to anyone who wants to know it more closely.
SalernoCity, il Tribunale di Salerno http://www.salernocity.com/turismo/Salernostorica/Introduzione/default_ing.asp