What to do from the Fantastic Port of Salerno
If you will be cruising the Mediterranean on the Vision of the Seas, Emerald Princess, Marella Discovery 2, MS Veendam Disney Magic or Celebrity Infinity with a stop in the Port of Salerno, Italy, then you are probably wondering: Where is Salerno and what can I see while I am in port? Well we are happy to give you some tips and explain why the Salerno Port is the perfect place to arrive for exploring beautiful Southern Italy including the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Pompeii, Vesuvius and much more.
A little info about the Port of Salerno
Salerno is a medium sized Italian town located right on the beautiful sea at the very southern end of the Amalfi Coast, and it is the capital city of the province of Salerno. In fact, the Amalfi Coast towns such as Ravello, Amalfi and Positano all lie in the province of Salerno. In case you were curious, the largest port in the area is actually the Port of Naples, which is located on the other side of Sorrento to the north, less than an hour away from Salerno on the inland highway. The Naples Port is much more crowded, while Salerno has many fewer cruise ships arriving and a slower, more relaxed pace.
Salerno itself is a charming town of great historical and cultural importance, but it is not very well known and is usually left off travel itineraries in favor of the more popular destinations next door. This is a shame, because it is a wonderful point of entry into the region and has a rich history of its own. Salerno was founded as a Roman colony, called Salernum, on the remains of another settlement that is thought to be Etruscan. It changed hands many times from Goths to Byzantines, Longobards and Normans and was even the capital of Italy for a very short period. It is home to the famous historical University of Medicine, which was founded during the Middle Ages and attracted students from all over Italy and Europe. In 1694, the city was devastated by both a plague and earthquakes and it wasn’t for about a hundred years before true recovery began. Then during WWII Salerno was occupied by the Germans and became an important target because of its strategic position. In fact, the Allied Forces landed in 1943 by sea in what is sometimes called the D-Day of Italy. They were able to push back the German troops, sustaining very heavy casualties, and eventually made their way up the peninsula past Naples and finally to Rome. People interested in WWII history can visit the poignant Salerno War Cemetery where the Commonwealth forces are buried about 25 minutes from the port.
Today Salerno is a bustling port town, with a historic city center, beautiful churches such as the main Cathedral of St. Matthews and great food. You can start your day trip with an hour or two enjoying the town, visiting a few main churches and strolling the Lungomare Trieste one of the most beautiful promenades in Italy. Most people docking in the Port of Salerno choose to also visit the nearby Amalfi Coast to enjoy the famous towns of Ravello and Amalfi that are only about 30 km away following a stretch of incredible road with panoramic overlooks and incredible sea views to enjoy. Another great option for a day trip from the port of Salerno is the amazing archeological sites of Pompeii, that can be reached in just around 35 minutes, and Herculaneum, which is about 45 minutes away (both UNESCO World Heritage Sites). The still active volcano Mt. Vesuvius or the town of Naples are also possible during a day trip. All are easily do-able on a full-day shore excursion with private English-speaking driver and panoramic minivan from the Port of Salerno.