Main city of Campania
region, Salerno rises on the splendid gulf
to which it gives the name.
Its origin is connected to the first Greek communities
arrived in Italy in the VIII cent BC as a result of the Messenian
Wars or to the presence of Etruscans that
would have founded a center with the name of Irna.
The city passed then to the Romans in 276 BC with the victory
on the alloy of the Italic people during the Samnite Wars
and subsequently, unlike other cities of the region, he remained
faithful to Rome
during the Punic Wars guaranteeing to itself
many rights for fidelity demonstrated and having a great period
of development. It dates back to this period the construction
of a first castle by some war veterans.
After the fall of the Roman Empire and the consequent barbaric
made part of the Ostrogoth Kingdom of Italy
and was the center of the Gothic War fought
with Byzantium (535-553) after which the territory passed
in Byzantine hand for 14 years, before the arrival of the
Longobards in 568 who annexed it to the Duchy
of Benevento (646).
Although at the beginning the new reigning were opposed by
the population it was under the Longobards that Salerno
knew a period of splendor and development both artistic and
In 774 the Prince of Benevento
Arechi II decided in fact to transfer its court to Salerno
and for protect from the reduction of Carl the Great wanted
to be built the defensives walls. Of this period also the
construction of its royal palace and the
church di San Pietro a Corte.
In 839, as a result of the inner crash between
Radelchi and hereditary Prince Siconolfo, it was created the
principality of Salerno, independent from
Benevento, and entrusting
to the prince with nomination by Emperor Ludovico II Germanico.
From this moment on the city developed again, in fact it was
written on the coins the saying Opulenta Salernum.
With the advent of the Normans in South Italy,
Salerno had to yield to the besieges of Robert Guiscard of
Hauteville (1077) who had married before the Longobard princess
of Salerno Sichelgaita (1058), daughter of
Guaimario and sister of the besieged one, prince Gisulfo II.
With Robert the city newly flourished becoming the capital
of the Norman Kingdom that, after the conquest of
the Sicily to the Arabs (1068) and Bari to
the Byzantines (1071) extended on all the South of Italy.
In this period they were constructed the new royal palace,
Castel Terracena, and the Arab-Norman Chatedral.
In 1127 the capital of the Kingdom was moved to Palermo
and, with the advent of the Svevians, Salerno
suffered the devastation by emperor Henry VI
(1194), son of Frederick I Barbarossa. The previous events
were these: the city dwellers, that not liked much the Svevian
lineage, kidnapped Costanza d' Altavilla,
future spouse of the Emperor and mother of Federico II, the
The aversion continued under Federico II
and only with his son Manfredi, who wanted
some important works in the port, the relationship went better.
With the fall of the Svevians and the arrival of the Angioins
Salerno made part of the Kingdom of Naples,
born as a result of the arrival of the Aragoneses in Sicily
(1282) and the subsequent division of the Kingdom of Sicily.
With the fall of the Angioins due to the arrival of Aragoneses
(Naples - 1442) the city was managed by the
Sanseverino lineage (XV - XVI secc.) with
Norman origin until the popular revolt commanded by a fishmonger
Ippolito di Pastina (1647). Followed a flagellating plague
and a terrible earthquake (June 5th 1688) that reduced the
city to a small village.
The rebirth arrived with the end of the Spanish
domination and the spread of the republican ideals that brought
to the Unity of Italy (1860) to which the
city city actively participated increasing in number the Garibaldi's
During the Second World War Salerno was bombed
by the allied forces which disembarked on its beach the 8th
of September 1943.
Later on the city obtained new glory accommodating the government
seat from February 10th to July 15th 1944 (Badoglio was first