If you’re heading to Southern Italy, you may already know that you’ve got a beautiful journey ahead of you.
From stunning vistas to epic archaeological sites, Campania is one of our favorite regions to visit. To really get the most out of your visit, you’ll want some great cities to start from like Naples and Salerno.
For Madrina Club, Salerno is a special place, a province within the region of Campania just to the south of Naples – a 40-minute drive or a one-hour train ride away – Salerno is an attractive spot to find some adventure.
More than just a casual city to enjoy your seaside Aperol Spritz, Salerno is filled with ancient history, Italian culture, modern art, and architecture… and yes, some outstanding beaches, too!
To help you get a jump start on your planning for your next Italy trip, we’re highlighting 10 of the top attractions in the province of Salerno for you below.
The Top 10 Attractions in Salerno
1. Ruins of Paestum
While Italy may be famous for its Roman ruins, your time in Salerno will afford you the opportunity to see another important chapter in Italian history: the Ruins of Paestum, the best-preserved Greek ruins in mainland Italy.
Paestum consists of three temples: the Temple of Hera I (6th century BCE), the Temple of Neptune (5th century BCE), and the Temple of Ceres/Athena (circa 6th-century BCE). While much of Greek history does talk about men and male gods, each of the temples here is made to celebrate female goddesses. This UNESCO World Heritage Site also hosts the Archaeological Museum of Paestum for an even more in-depth look at the city, its cults, rituals, and more.
In the mood for more Greek ruins? Make sure to add a stay in Sicily!
2. Salerno Duomo Cathedral
What would a visit to an Italian city be without a stop by its main cathedral?
As one of the best ways to get a real sense for an Italian city’s character, the Duomo di Salerno is no exception. This 11th-century-built cathedral has seen its share of renovations (with the most recent in the 1930s to get it back to its Baroque and Rococo origins) yet holds up beautifully.
The details are some of the most spectacular in the region, from the 12th-century bell tower, bronze door, and an atrium filled with columns from nearby Paestum. With all that, we still haven’t gotten to the most captivating part: the crypt of St. Matthew.
With ceiling frescoes dedicated to St. Matthew’s life (from around the year 954) and gospel and a baroque design that will leave you speechless, this earns its place as a top attraction in Salerno.
3. Vietri sul Mare
At just a one-hour stroll (or a nine-minute train ride) from Salerno, the nearby Vietri sul Mare is one of the best things to do in Salerno.
In addition to the quiet beaches, what’s especially attractive about Veitri sul Mare is the handmade majolica ceramics. As local producers of this artwork since Roman times, the artisans here are living history.
While you can see the stunning mix of greens, blues, and yellows throughout Vietri sul Mare, the most prominent display is on the bell tower and dome at San Giovanni Battista. Before you head back to Salerno, swing by Ceramica Artistica Solimene Vincenzo and grab a piece or two for yourself.
4. Centro Storico Salerno
Get a feel for life in Salerno with a walk around its historic city center.
From navigating the narrow cobblestone streets and small alleyways to the shops, bars, and cafes, this is by far one of the most charming things to do in Salerno. Of note is the Drapparia, one of Salerno’s main commercial streets and one filled with interesting drapery and fabric shops.
Afterward, make your way toward Corso Vittorio Emanuele (while stopping to fuel up at some of the revered local pastry shops) to find a pedestrian walking area that’s perfect for a relaxed afternoon.
5. Tenuta Vannulo
Have you come to Italy for mozzarella di bufala?
Then Tenuta Vannulo has to be on your must-see in Salerno list. This farm, which is just steps away from the Ruins of Paestum, is the home to 600 water buffaloes. For anyone who’s ever been interested in this soft, fresh mozzarella, a tour here is as interesting as it is delicious.
At Tenuta Vannulo, you’ll learn about this handmade Italian cheese and the cheese-making process, meet the buffalo, and indulge in samples of buffalo milk, chocolate, yogurt, and gelato.
6. Museo Archeologico Provinciale of Salerno / Provincial Archaeological Museum of Salerno
For as many delights as Salerno has to offer modern-day travelers, it’s the city’s history that continues to impress.
Salerno’s roots date back past the Roman era to its likely Etruscan roots. For visitors looking to get a sense of that scale, the Provincial Archaeological Museum of Salerno is a must. Documenting the city’s roots from prehistory through the late Roman period, the museum is filled with archaeological treasures from the area.
Perhaps the most outstanding piece? A bronze head of Apollo from the 1st century.
7. Muri d’Autore Street Art
One of Salerno’s most popular galleries doesn’t have operating hours. So where is it?
It’s the city itself! Though located mostly in the Fornelle District, the city’s oldest neighborhood, Salerno is home to a large collection of murals and painted pottery.
Salerno has a secret hidden within her labyrinth of streets, and that is a vast collection of colorful murals and painted pottery thanks to the Muri d’Autore street art project from 2014.
Representing both Italian artists and international creators, the art features murals, graffiti, and verses from Alfonso Gatto, an Italian writer from Salerno.
8. Castello di Arechi / Arechi Castle
For views of the Gulf of Salerno, you’ve got to head up high to the Arechi Castle.
At almost 1,000 feet above sea level, this castle is visible from nearly anywhere in Salerno. Built in the 6th century, the castle features details from its many eras, including ramparts made from sandstone blocks and archaeological finds from the Normans.
Now, it’s one of the top attractions in Salerno. Its defensive walls are free and open to visitors, the Medieval Museum features pottery and artifacts found during the castle’s restoration, and there’s even a restaurant inside so you can enjoy your own medieval meal.
9. Piazza Della Libertà
Salerno may be filled with living history, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some amazing modern moments happening, too.
One of the most interesting is the Piazza Della libertà, the largest seaside square in Italy. This urban project connects the Maritime Station, launched in 2016, with the city’s seafront.
Featuring futuristic architecture accented by long curves and extended sides that contribute to a so-called ‘water mirror’, this plaza adds a modern flair to a city known for its historical roots.
10. Minerva’s Garden
Located about halfway between the Arechi Castle and Salerno is one of Salerno’s most peaceful spots: Minerva’s Garden.
Considered one of Italy’s most beautiful gardens, Minerva’s Garden dates back to the 1300s. Beyond its beautiful location and views of the sea, the garden is also a fascinating trip back in time to how medicine and therapy were considered.
With five terraces, more than 300 species of herbs, art and tiles, Minerva’s Garden is one of the most unique experiences in Salerno.