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- 25 Aug 2019, 3 nights
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Since 1650 the Ave Gratia Plena, according to the will of the town of Salerno, has been a convent for maidens and girls on the brink.
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Salerno is an ancient port city on Italy's western coast and the capital of Salerno Province. Its kilometre-long Lungomare Trieste is an elegant seafront promenade lined with palm trees: the perfect place to soak up the Mediterranean sun or cool down with a scoop of zesty lemon granita – a local sweet frozen treat. In the centre, you'll see local trattorias and pizzerias alongside pretty medieval churches. Well-connected to other areas along the coastline, it makes a good base for exploring popular spots nearby such as the Amalfi Coast and Naples.
The Salerno hostel scene includes lots of small bed-and-breakfasts, often in quiet areas where you can get a feel for the city's local side. They include classic, yet modern accommodation with sea views and you can even stay in a private apartment just steps away from the cathedral. You'll often find extra touches in Salerno hostels such as free toiletries, slippers to keep your feet cosy or a coffee machine to get you going in the morning. Hostels in Salerno usually have free Wi-Fi, as well as air con and heating.
Salerno is split into two main areas. To the west of the city is its old town, with historical buildings in districts such as Rione Duomo. To the east, the newer part of town is centred on the railway station and busy Salerno harbour. Moving towards the European Quarter, you'll find local restaurants, bars and live music venues clustered along the waterfront, plus recreational space in Mercatello Park. Just outside the old town is Vietri sul Mare, a small fishing village known for artisanal pottery.
Sights here include the majestic, 10th-century Salerno Cathedral – known for its ornately decorated crypt and bell tower. Another historical spot is Minerva’s Garden, where medicinal plants have been grown since the 11th century. An hour's drive out of Salerno, the ancient Greek city of Paestum is home to spectacular ruins and three major temples. You can also take a boat tour along the coast to see hidden bays and rugged natural scenery, or spend the day on sandy swimming beaches like La Baia.
Buses run direct from Naples Capodichino International Airport to Salerno (around an hour's journey), or you can take the train from Naples' Stazione Centrale (45 minutes). From Rome, the fastest direct trains take about an hour. Ferries run from Salerno to destinations such as Positano and Amalfi. Salerno itself has transport options including buses, trains and a bike sharing scheme.