Why I went to Salerno…and why I’m going back!
Having already visited Florence, Venice and Verona in the north, Sorrento and Sicily in the south, I wanted to go somewhere with fewer tourists. I wanted to taste the real Italian lifestyle. I wanted a warm, comfortable climate in a city near the sea. ”Salerno” is perfect for the weather being in the south of Italy it is warm all year round. I stayed in Salerno in May and I was able to go sunbathing!
You can reach Salerno by plane, landing at Naples airport, and it is just a 40 min drive to the centre. Alternatively, you can travel down from northern Europe by train – Eurostar is quick and comfortable.
I found the coastline along Salerno just breathtaking, looking both towards the Amalfi Coast to the north and towards the Cilento coast to the south. In just a short time I could reach either by bus or by boat. I visited Positano which is famous for its fashion, ceramics and of course lemons but above all its picturesque bay which appears on all the postcards.
I visited Ravello with its magnificent villas and gardens and listened to the music and Italian opera in the romantic atmosphere of the gardens. Also for a quieter day I went for a walk and swim in the nearby Vietri su Mare, just 10 mins from Salerno along the coast. One day I went to the magnificent Greek Temples in Paestum set in the beautiful countryside. It looks like the set for a film, you expect to see gladiators on horseback entering the scene. It is definitely worth a visit!
Did I feel at home? Yes, I did, very much at home right from the beginning of my stay. In Salerno I mixed with the real Italians, the local people, I took part in their everyday life, which helped me immensely with my spoken Italian.
The food has its own merits, who could ever say “I don’t like Italian food”? It is fantastic: pasta, pizza, lots of lovely red tomato sauce and local olive oil. In Salerno, the people still prefer their local food. All made in the Campania region.
There are a variety of ways to spend evenings, and one of the best is a lazy stroll along the seafront. I would sit in one of the many bars and watched the people go by, go to one of favourite pizzerias or restaurants or go to a pub and listen to live music. I never got bored during my stay, not for one second!
The school I attended in Salerno met all my expectations. It is in a noble building in the centre of Salerno near the historic centre, and the classrooms face out onto the sea. The teachers were highly experienced and very friendly which made learning Italian fun. There were extra activities in the afternoons and at the weekend. I particularly enjoyed the guided tour of the city which I found really interesting and we had the chance to ask questions about the area and its history. I made a lot of good friends and ‘yes’ we did speak Italian in class and out of the classroom.
I really love the Italian language, so I chose to stay in a host family. I lived in a fantastic house in the historical part of the city overlooking the Romanesque cathedral. There were four people in the family and they really made me feel at home. I had delicious meals with them and often I went out with them in the evenings.
I had a really good time in Salerno and I look forward to coming back…very soon!
Valerie Anne (Scotland)