Capital of Campania’s southernmost province, the lively port of Salerno is much less chaotic than Naples and is well off most travellers’ itineraries, giving it a pleasant, relaxed air. During medieval times the town’s medical school was the most eminent in Europe; more recently, it was the site of the Allied landing of September 9, 1943 – a landing that reduced much of the centre to rubble. The subsequent rebuilding has restored neither charm nor efficiency to the town centre, which is an odd mixture of wide, characterless boulevards and a small medieval core full of intriguingly dark corners and alleys. It is, however, a lively, sociable place, with a busy seafront boulevard, plenty of nightlife and shops, and a good supply of cheap accommodation, which makes it a reasonable base for some of the closer resorts of the Amalfi Coast and for the ancient site of Paestum to the south. Although there isn't a great deal to see in Salerno, it's pleasant to wander through the centre's vibrant streets, especially the ramshackle medieval quarter, which starts at the far end of the pedestrianized main shopping drag of Corso V. Emanuele.

Top image: View of Salerno and the Gulf of Salerno Campania Italy © SchnepfDesign/Shutterstock

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