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The old town center of Salerno, with its historic value represented by the succession of eras – from its foundation as Roman, then Lombard and Norman center, up to the Swabians, the Angevins and the Aragonese – is an ideal setting for protection and enhancement interventions on the archaeological, architectural and cultural heritage, aim of the Databenc consortium.
According to the long-term vision of the Databenc District and the desire for participation of the expert authorities, some great historical valuable works have been identified in the archaeological and architectural legacy of the city for which it is important to develop protection and enhancement activities. These are Fruscione Palace (in agreement with the Municipality of Salerno) and the Complex of San Pietro a Corte (in agreement with the Superintendences BAP/A).
ITINERARY PROPOSED ON THE “SMART APP FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE”
The itinerary, which starts and ends in Piazza Portanova, crucial junction between the modern city and the old town center, wants to highlight briefly the unique stratification of the urban fabric of old Salerno. Through the exact reference to places, monuments, works and documents that testify the complex historical events that have marked the life and image of the city during the years, the path offers visitors a first essay of the archaeological, architectural and historic-artistic wealth of Salerno, underlining the persistence of the past but also the most recent transformations. A journey through space and time that goes from the Roman age to the present, showing, in a concise way, more or less known passages and places of the Old Town Center. This is a starting point of a mapping that will develop gradually, identifying other itineraries and building new tales.
01. PIAZZA PORTANOVA
Piazza Portanova stands outside the old city center. From the 14th century, it was a place of trade and commerce. It was one of the main places of the city Fair, whose most important area was located between Porta Catena and Porta Nova. The Gate (La Porta), hence the name of the area, had a different position from the current one. Today’s arrangement rose from the needs of traffic and space, related to the commercial activities, in the 18th century.
THE FALLEN OF 1828
Inside the little church of San Pietro in Vinculis, on the edge of the square, a plaque commemorates the tragic repression of the revolutions that, in 1828, inflamed the Cilento. The canon Antonio Maria De Luca, member of the Carbonari and promoter of the uprising, and its twenty-five companions were imprisoned and shot in Salerno. Their bodies were thrown into a mass grave in the church.
The gate opens towards the sea, turning left for the alley ‘dei caciocavalli’ in piazza Flavio Gioia. It was built in 1754 in honor of King Charles III of Bourbon, who crossed the city on the way to the hunting property of Persano. It was created by the sculptor Francesco Ragozzino, active in Salerno for the Cathedral and the Church of the Annunziata. The archive documents attribute the statue of Saint Matthew on the top of the gate to the sculptor Giovanni Pagano in Naples. The saint is depicted without the book and the angel that traditionally characterize his image.
THE URBAN TRANSFORMATION OF THE XX CENTURY
The new plan of the city of Salerno in 1914, made in stages, by the Neapolitan architects Ernesto Donzelli and Nicola Cavaccini, provided for the reorganization of the central area through big main roads following the Neapolitan model that were linked by squares with radial design, long straight “boulevards” connected by “star-shaped roundabouts”. A still persistent rigorous and symmetrical structure that cuts the center into two and culminates in Piazza Portanova, connection point between the old and the contemporary city.
02. VIA DEI MERCANTI
This is the main way to reach the old city center, which brings to the heart of the city. During the centuries, it has maintained its commercial function and nowadays it is the crossroads of tourists and scholars for the presence of churches and noble palaces. For a long time now, it is the entrance to the nightlife. In fact, here the first literary café of the city, the caffè de’ Mercanti, was born. For some years, it becomes periodically The Enchanted Garden, one of the bright project of the famous event Artist’s Lights.
In the 18th century, the old city center settled with noble mansions, which transformed the image of the city with their façades decorated with stucco. Usually set back from the street, the buildings are characterized by internal courtyards with double stairs and, often, fountains. Along Via Mercanti, almost in front of Pinto Palace and the small square behind the church of Saint Gregory, there is Carrara Palace. Already mentioned in 1692, the palace has on the façade toward the street frames and stucco decorations on the windows and balconies, and, inside, ceilings painted with mythological scenes of Rococo style.
03. CHURCH OF THE CRUCIFIX
(CHURCH OF S. MARY OF PITY)
The church was originally attached to the monastery of Virgin Mary of Mercy and housed a painting of the Holy Cross of the 13th century, now in the Diocesan Museum. With a no longer existing atrium, the church has a cathedral form with three naves with old re-used columns and capitals from the Roman Empire, and apse to the east. Located on the edge of the early medieval town, it preserves some elements of particular interest in the northern wall, such as the ancient gateway and a perforated ogival window of stucco. Through the sacristy, there is the access to the crypt.
It was probably an older religious building where later the current church was erected. The plant is a cathedral with three naves, each divided into two spans covered by cross vaults supported by re-used columns. Opposite the original altar, rebuilt after the restorations, you can see the fresco depicting the Crucifixion of the last decade of the 13th century, while in the right apse there is another fresco depicting Pope Saint Sixtus between St. Lawrence and a holy pilgrim.
04. SAN PIETRO DE GRISONTE (TODAY SAN ROCCO)
In 1165, there is the first mention to this church. Its current name comes from today’s confraternity of St. Roch, which oversees it. A trace of the old dedication to Saint Peter remains in the name of the adjacent square, Largo S. Petrillo. The church was completely rebuilt in the 17th century by the family De Iudice. The wooden statue of the Virgin Mary placed on the main altar is of that period too. In the presbytery, the Virgin on the left wall and the wooden Crucifix are recent works of the painter Mario Carotenuto from Salerno. Instead, the polychrome ceramic plates inserted in the pavement outside the church are by the artist Pierfrancesco Solimene.
“STUMBLING BLOCKS” BY PIERFRANCESCO SOLIMENE, 2012
For the second edition of the festival “Door to door”, a contemporary art itinerary in the spaces of the Old City Center (2011-2012), Pierfrancesco Solimene replaced some elements of the flooring made up of large stones (a basolato) of the old city center with polychrome ceramic plates. The young artist from Salerno gave new life to the traditional technique of ceramic, using it to create a contemporary and poetic visual “stumbling block” in the heart of the ancient city. The works stand in Largo San Pietro a Corte, Largo Abate Conforti, Via Botteghelle, Via Duomo and Via Mercanti.
05. SCHOLA MEDICA SALERNITANA MUSEUM
It was born as educational Museum in 1993 and stays inside the ancient church of St. Gregory, whose first mention dates back to 1058. In 2009, the original museum turned into a virtual museum with thematic and interactive tours, where images on the Schola Medica Salernitana, from medieval codes guarded in some of the major European libraries, are exhibited. Some academic degrees earned at the Medical School are also available for consultation at the State Archive, in Piazza Abate Conforti.
CHURCH OF SAINT GREGORY
It is one of the oldest churches in the city, mentioned in a document of 1058. A plaque, stored in the Diocesan Museum of Salerno, informs that in 1172 the church was rebuilt by the will of the abbot Robert Guarna. In the 15th century, it is under the Abbey of Cava but this dependence came from a probably false document of the 11th century. In 1503, it was identified as a parish church.
THE SCHOLA MEDICA SALERNITANA
The first news about the renowned doctors of Salerno, who at the time had already passed the Italian boundaries, date back to the 10th century. However, the testimony of the existence of a School as a didactic and scientific structure is later and its origins are still mysterious, although they are surely linked to the circulation of medical knowledge that characterized the South during the Early Middle Ages. After the extraordinary development of medicine in Salerno between the 11th and 12th centuries, thanks also to the arrival and the original reworking of the Arabic, Greek and European texts, the school received its important recognition with the laws by Frederick II. According to these laws, no one could have taught or practice medicine without a preliminary examination with the Masters of Salerno. Despite its international and Mediterranean importance, the school never became a university faculty.
06. PINTO PALACE
The palace, by the name of the Pinto family, is the result of the unification of structures made starting from the Norman age, of which it preserves ancient re-used elements, wall decorations and fragments of arches. Later extensions and interventions have led, in the 18th century, to the current configuration. The building had ground rooms used as shops, utility rooms, yard and stable, while on the two upper floors there were the gallery, the loggia and the owners’ rooms. Today, it houses the Provincial Art Gallery.
THE PINTO MANUSCRIPT
The so-called “Pinto Manuscript” is an inventory of the noble families of Salerno, from the second half of the 19th century, where, in alphabetical order, genealogical and historical information is reported and it represents the coats of arms attributed to three patricians’ seats of the city (Campo, Portanova and Portarotese). It is stored, along with two other specimens of the 18th and early 20th century, at the Provincial Library in Salerno, and is available in digital form too.
PROVINCIAL ART GALLERY
Inaugurated in 2001, it occupies the first floor of Pinto Palace and includes works that testify the figurative culture and the image of Salerno and its territory from the 15th to the 20th century. A part of the collection is dedicated to the activity of foreign artists, who, from the beginning of the 20th century, have chosen the Amalfi Coast as privileged place to live and develop their art. It also hosts temporary exhibitions, events and concerts.
7. CATALAN ARCH
In the ancient courtyard of Pinto Palace, whose entrance is a small door on the street side, recent renovations have revealed a tuff arch, with the typical flat form, from the Aragonese era (15th c.). Returned to the public in 2012, the space includes the Provincial Winehouse, which takes care of and promotes the wine tradition of the territory and houses exhibitions and cultural events as the Festival of Literature.
CATALAN TRACES IN THE OLD CITY CENTER
Since the beginning of the 14th century, in Salerno and Amalfi, Catalan presences are recorded, testified by architectural and urban interventions that have transformed some parts of the city into Catalan “barrios”. In Salerno, the Catalan spatial architecture expresses itself with peculiar arches with flat vaults, geometric moldings and sculpted decorations found in some buildings of the old city center in Via Duomo, Via Tasso or in noble palaces like Pinto Palace and Morese Palace.
8. CHURCH OF S. SALVATORE DE DRAPPARIA
The church has an octagonal plan with Baroque elements. It was built in 1423 and, between 1515-1535, the confraternity of the tailors masters moved there. In 1990, archaeological excavations revealed a complex stratification: Roman and Lombard structures, a medieval balneum (Roman baths), traces of Angevin floor and craft shops.
The writer Masuccio Salernitano (1410-1475), humanist at the Neapolitan court of King Alfonso of Aragon, gives us news about the Drapparia (place where the textiles were sold), animated by “banchi e botteghe de argentieri e sartori” (shops of silversmiths and tailors), in his book entitled “Il Novellino”, a collection of satirical and anticlerical tales, banned by the Roman Inquisition.
THE MEDIEVAL *BALNEUM*
The archaeological excavations have revealed an important marble bath under the church, accessible via three steps, receiving water from a second tank placed higher. This place worked until the 11th-12th century and surely was part of a bathroom of the Lombard palace. The building of a *balneum* was closely related to the necessity of finding a source of water and the northern-western area of Salerno, in the past as today, had numerous streams, canals and blades of water, some of which mentioned in the actual place names: “Via Fusandola”, “rise of the Lama” and “Via dei Canali”. The *balneum* of Salerno and the previous Roman baths received water from an aquifer placed in that area where there were numerous streams that went downhill from the mount Bonadies and fueled also gardens, fisheries and fountains. The Lombard *bath* worked until the 11th century, when the palace of Arechis II began to decline. As consequence of the abandonment of the structures, this part of the *Curtis* (court) was occupied by shops and in 1423 the church of San Salvatore de Drapparia was built there, commissioned by Pacilio Surdo, as stated in the epigraph placed on the wall of the building.
9. ARECHIS’ PALACE
Built by the will of Arechis II, Duke of Benevento, in the second half of the 8th century, the palace retakes models of the architecture of the Late Antiquity. The building is set on wide arches supported by columns and capitals from the Roman Empire. It had a sumptuous staircase which looked onto the coast and included the private chapel of the lord (the Palatine Chapel) surrounded by a balcony, partially still visible. Today, the original structure has been deeply modified by extensions of the Modern era.
ARECHIS II (734-787)
Arechis II was son-in-law of the Lombard King Desiderius (defeated by Charlemagne in 774), Duke of Benevento in 758 and in 774 assumed the title of *princeps gentis Longobardorum* (Lombards’ prince) and moved his court from Benevento to Salerno, where in the city center, built his palace. Intellectuals and writers such as Paul the Deacon and Erchempert, both authors of a History of the Lombards, praised his cultural refinement and high mindedness. He promoted the construction of churches and monasteries both in Benevento and in Salerno.
10. SAN PIETRO A CORTE
Arechis II wanted inside his palace a private church dedicated to the Saints Peter and Paul. The entrance to the palatine chapel stands through a door on the northern wall, which is no longer visible because covered by one of the altars of the 18th century. The church, rectangular with a square apse and atrium, retraced the planimetry of the underlying early Christian church and it was richly furnished. Following the Roman Byzantine tradition, the workers built a marquetry floor with marbles coming from buildings of Imperial age, while the apse was enriched with glass tesserae of gold foil. A marble inscription, which glorified the work of its builder, completed the furniture. In the middle of the 12th century, the liturgical part of the early Christian church was separated from the cemetery part.
THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH
At the end of the 5th century, the area destined to the cold baths (*frigidarium*) in the thermal complex of the 1st–2nd century AD, was transformed into a cemetery church by the will of Socrates, a noble person of the Byzantine city. He built for himself and his family a funeral chapel that worked until the 8th century, housing many deceased including the young Theodenanda, died at the age of four. In the middle of the 8th century, the church and the cemetery were incorporated in the space underlying the palatine chapel of the Duke Arechis II.
ARECHIS II’s PALATINE CHAPEL FLOOR
During the building of the chapel of the Lombard Duke’s palace, the vaults of the underlying space were eliminated and a loft was made, where colored marble “carpets” coming from buildings of the Imperial age were put. “Comacine” masters who worked at the Lombard court expertly assembled the pieces of red porphyry, green serpentine, bardiglio, cipollino and other types of polychrome marble and some of these are still today a unique exemplar of the early medieval decorative floor review. Even the apse of the church was covered with a marble mosaic made up of several pieces of glass painted in gold, according to an old technique of the Roman tradition, also known by the glassmaker masters of the 8th century.
THE 12TH-14TH CENTURY ORATORY
Meanwhile, the external floor surface grew because of the falls and the floods and to enter, it was necessary to reinforce the perimeter walls and create a new entrance from above and a stair to connect the higher parts. Inside, a *seat* and a bookstand were built while on the walls various saints were depicted in different moments. Probably used as one of the classrooms of the Schola Medica Salernitana until the 14th century, it was definitively abandoned after the fall of the ceiling of the Lombard palatine church above.
An aedicule preserves its memory representing the Virgin Mary with the Child, St. Catherine of Alexandria on the right and St. Peter on the left. Today, the fresco is visible in the adjacent Church of St. Anne.
11. ST. ANNE CHAPEL
Close to the Lombard palatine chapel, there is a long and narrow chapel dedicated to St. Anne. The building was erected in the 17th century by using the northern wall of the complex of the Arechis’ palace and the eastern wall of the bell tower. Inside, it stores interesting frescos including one made before the construction of the church itself, which has created confusion about the dating of the building. Today the church hosts the “Archaeological Group of Salerno”.
THE BELL TOWER
In 920 AD, the Prince of Salerno Guaimar II built, next to the church of Sts. Peter and Paul a Corte, a bell tower, described as small and beautiful by the sources. Unfortunately, there are no longer news about this bell tower and it is often confused with the today’s one, adjacent to the church of St. Anne, whose construction dates back to the 15th century, as shown by the archaeological investigations. As happened to the bell tower of the church of St. Mary de Domno (disappeared today) in Via Masuccio Salernitano, hypothetically, the early medieval bell tower was used as a stairwell. This hypothesis comes from the presence of a capital visible at the third floor of the stairwell of the palace for civic houses to the east of the church and some architectonic elements.
THE PAINTING DECORATION
On the north wall of the Church of St. Anne, there is a fresco of the 16th century depicting the Virgin with St. Catherine of Alexandria on the right and St. Peter on the left. The work was made when both the palatine church, remembered only for St. Peter, and the ancient oratory, where there was repeatedly the image of St. Catherine of Alexandria, were unusable because of the fall of the ceiling of the palatine chapel. The memory of the two churches was thus carried by the fresco, which is today at an unusual height due to the fact that in the 16th century the road was lower. Inside the building, you can also admire a painting by Filippo Pennino, realized in the second decade of the 18th century depicting the Nativity of the Virgin.
12. FRUSCIONE PALACE
The palace is named after its latest owner and today belongs to the Municipality. The building presents elements of several ages ranging from the 11th and the 12th centuries to the Contemporary age. A first group of buildings was built in the Lombard court, next to the palatine church, occupied by orchards and gardens in the 8th century. During the Norman age, the building had only two floors, the third was added between the late 13th and the early 14th century, while the fourth floor in the 18th century. In the Middle Ages, the Church of St. Rita was built on the border of the church of St. Matthew Piccolo. Originally, it was the place of the church of St. Anthony of Vienne, which worked as public assistance. Today, the palace houses expositions, exhibitions and events of various kinds.
THE EASTERN FAÇADE
This side of Fruscione palace still has the characteristic marquetry decoration. In the Norman period, architectural polychrome decorations bloomed proposing again textiles and mosaics, ancient oriental matrices, taken from illuminated manuscripts. The woven arch became the most common decoration in southern Italy, proposed on the church buildings and also on the laical houses. From Salerno to Capua, from Lettere to Ravello, from Melfi to Palermo, the stoneworkers freed their imagination and motifs like the zigzag, the halberd, the chessboard and, in some cases, the zoomorphic one, embellished and accentuated the colors of the façades.
THE 1ST-2ND CENTURY AD MOSAIC
The archaeological excavations have revealed the remains of a geometric mosaic, largely destroyed by the medieval constructions. It consisted of a parallel black bands frame with a chained circles motif that produces a succession of petals. The area with the mosaic, whose walls are covered by decorations in relief of stucco and paintings, belonged to the Baths of the 1st-2nd century, found in San Pietro a Corte. The traces of three subsequent restorations of the mosaic signal that the baths were frequented for a long time.
CHURCH OF SAINT RITA
The saint of the “Thorn” and of the “Rose” or also of “impossible graces” receives a special veneration in this district. Here, since May 19, it starts the triduum in preparation for the feast, on May 22, during which there are the holy mass and other liturgical activities culminating with the blessing and distribution of the roses.
13. CHURCH OF THE ANNUNNZIATELLA
The diminutive depends on the presence of the nearby Basilica of Holy Annunziata that differs in size and function. In fact, the church is attached to the complex of female convent School Ave Gratia Plena, with which it communicates through a passage on the second floor of the building that allowed the guests to follow the celebrations in the two reserved choirs. It has a bichrome façade with a gate with the emblem of the Institute and inside it houses works of the Neapolitan school of the 18th century. In 1946, the parish church of St. Andrew de Lama was transferred here and changed its name into St. Andrew of the Annunziatella.
In the side chapels of the only nave, there are paintings of the late 18th century. They depict St. Dominic and St. Francis, St. Charles Borromeo, attributed to Didacus Sessa, the Transit of St. Joseph placed in the Copeta Chapel and St. Teresa of Jesus. This last work has the author’s signature partially readable, perhaps Nicola Luciano, painter of Salerno active in the 18th century, of the Scuola Solimenesca, influence also reflected in the paintings depicting St. Matthew and The Annunciation.
14. AVE GRATIA PLENA MINOR CONVENT SCHOOL
The ancient complex of the 18th century housed a boarding school for unmarried women or orphans, “poor girls, virgins and from an honest family.” In the entrance, you can still see the remains of a church of the 10th century and in the four-sided portico, a fountain of the 18th century. The building has undergone many transformations and, after the serious damages of the earthquake of 1980, there was an intervention of functional adaptation. Now, it houses the Youth Hostel, after being home for the elderly for a long period. In summer, it is a meeting place, home of cultural events, shows and concerts.
THE FOUR-SIDED PORTICO AND THE FOUNTAIN
During the 18th century, the Aragonese old four-sided portico, with massive columns of Vesuvius stone, underwent deep changes, including the coverage of some columns and the inclusion of the fountain, which is the perspective background of the courtyard. The position within the four-sided portico shows clearly how the fountain, consisting of a Baroque tank, is an added element. In fact, it fits asymmetrically near the colonnade to hide a support brickwork to remedy to the failure of the arch of the portico behind. After a long period of decay, in 2000, it was restored along with the entire Complex of the ex-convent school.
15. VIA DEI CANALI
The name of the street (Canals Street), characterized by a strong slope, depends on the presence of one of the many canals that, from the slopes of Mount Bonadies, flowed in the ancient center, outlining the spaces. The presence of streams is testified by the names of streets or buildings such as Canalone, de Lavinia and de Lama. At the intersection with Via Tasso, on Via dei Canali, there are buildings with ancient columns on the cornerstone.
THE CHURCH OF SAN GRAMMAZIO
Between Via dei Canali and Largo Abate Conforti, there was a church, now disappeared, consecrated to St. Grammazio, city bishop dead at the age of 41 in 525. Even his sepulchral gravestone has been lost.
16. VIA TASSO
Several buildings dating back to the 11th century, including the buildings of the Complex of Saint Sophia, border this street. Some historic buildings of modern age are also remarkable: Lauro Grotto Palace, Ruggi of Aragon Palace and Conforti Palace. The street arrives in Largo Abate Conforti to east, where perhaps there was the court during the Roman age, and ends to west in the so-called Thieves Tower, theater of folk tales. It is said that the prisoners were executed there and then exposed to the town.
THE ARISTOCRAT PALACES
The several palaces overlooking Via Tasso developed as autonomous insulae and now are the result of later enlargements. They present a similar structure: a majestic portal gives way to the courtyard, sometimes embellished with fountains, and from there to the service facilities, to the apartments and to the noble floor, where the owners lived. The spectacular staircases characterize the Conforti and Ruggi of Aragon Palaces and in Lauro Grotto Palace there is a chapel preserved with its original aspect.
17. MONUMENTAL COMPLEX OF SAINT SOPHIA
The church of St. Sophia, also known as Santissima Addolorata, forms part of the monastery of St. Sophia, founded in the early 11th century. Become property of the Abbey of Cava dei Tirreni, from 1309 it was the house of the Benedictine nuns who stayed there until 1589. The monastery passed to the Jesuits who built the present church and remained there until 1778, when the monastery passed to the Carmelites fathers. It was suppressed in 1807 and became the house of the Civil Court and in 1938 public school. The church has an only nave with side chapels, and its entrance consists in a monumental staircase made only in the 19th century. Now the monumental complex houses conferences, cultural events and art exhibitions.
In the first half of the 17th century, the Jesuits abandoned the original church of Saint Sophia, small and dark, and built a new church on a just purchased land. The project for the new construction was only partially completed and today the church has an only nave covered by barrel vaults, with two side chapels. In the 19th century, the Archbishop Marino Paglia started the restoration of the deteriorated church and rebuilt the dome, the floor, the façade with pilasters, the Corinthian capitals and the triangular tympanum, the double staircase and the balustrade. In 1846, the church, which since 1778 housed the Carmelites and was called the Church of the Carmine, was returned to the Jesuit Order. In 1868, it was entrusted to the Confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows (Addolorata), which gave it its current name.
THE CULTURAL AND EXHIBITION ACTIVITIES
After the important restoration and renovation works of the entire monument at the end of the last century, now run by the City, the monastery of St. Sophia and the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows were destined to host cultural and exhibition activities. The exhibitions of Miró (2002), Chagall (2003), Warhol (2003), Picasso (2004) and some unpublished exhibition projects dedicated to the art criticism of the 20th century proposed in 2009 and 2010 by Filiberto Menna Foundation have been particularly successful. Also figures and themes of the contemporary architecture and design (Enzo Mari, Pier Luigi Nervi) and artistic and craft productions of the territory have received attention. More recently, the monumental complex has welcomed some editions of the Young Culture Festival, Linea d’ombra, and Comicon, a cartoon fair.
18. LARGO ABATE CONFORTI
The square is dedicated to the abbot Giovanni Francesco Conforti, theologian, jurist and historian of Salerno, executed in the Market Square in Naples, for joining the Neapolitan Republic of 1799. The square, previously named Square of Assizes, because of the presence of judicial structures since the 17th century, houses the State Archives and the National boarding school “T. Tasso”. During the Roman age, here there was the city court. Domenico Antonio Mancini chose the perimeter wall that closes the square for an artistic intervention in 2011.
In 1637, it was the house of the Royal Audience, then, in the 19th century, of the Court of First Instance and of the Supreme Criminal Court, where many trials to people involved in the revolutions of the Risorgimento took place. Here, Giovanni Nicotera, companion of Pisacane in Sapri expedition, would have been imprisoned. After the Italian unification, it hosted the Civil and Correctional Court and the Court of Assizes. In 1934, it became seat of the Provincial Archive.
CHAPEL OF ST. LUDOVICO
Located on the ground floor of the State Archives of Salerno, it brings its name from the fresco of Angevin age, discovered in 2009, depicting St. Ludovico of Anjou (1274-1297). He was the son of Charles II and Mary of Hungary and heir to the throne of Naples, but he renounced his inheritance and entered the Franciscan order, becoming Bishop of Toulouse. The chapel has cross vaults decorated with frescoes of the 13th century.
NATIONAL BOARDING SCHOOL “T.TASSO”
In the 13th century, where there is the current school, the Franciscan convent of the order of St. Clare was built and consecrated to Mary Magdalene. In 1453, it became Benedictine convent for woman and was abolished in 1812. In 1814, it became the house of the Royal Lyceum and annexed Boarding School, later named “Royal College of Saint Louis”, held by the Jesuits until 1860.
Three bases of honorary statues with Latin inscriptions come from Largo Abate Conforti, probably seat of the Roman Court. The bases, dated between the 4th and the 5th century AD, are now stored in the garden of the Provincial Archaeological Museum (Via S. Benedetto). The first recalls the statue of Emperor Constantine built between 312 and 315 from the ordo populusque salernitanus, the senate of the city that, like any other empire, had to have a sculpture of the king in charge. The second is the dedication of a statue to Helena, Emperor Constantine’s mother, built between 324 and 326 by an Alpinius Magnus, corrector, that is, governor, of the Province of Lucania and Bruzio, which went from Salerno to Calabria. The third statue was accompanied by the dedication of the 5th century to Arrius Maecius Gracchus, generous patron of Salerno, who gave again courage to the people escaping from the city after the flood.
DOMENICO ANTONIO MANCINI, UNTITLED, 2011
The work by Domenico Antonio Mancini (Naples, 1980), created for the exhibition of contemporary art Door to door, which, in a project of the supervisor Maura Picciau, occupied in 2011 and in 2012 the rooms of the Old City Center, inspires the reflection on the need to face up in a different way the relationship with the tradition. Through a quote of the German philosopher Theodor Adorno, written on the wall like a love or protest message, the artist suggests that giving life to the hopes and desires of the past is the best way to preserve their meaning and memory.
19. VIA DELLE BOTTEGHELLE
Before the opening of Via Duomo in the 17th century, Via delle Botteghelle represented together with Via dei Canali, one of the main roads linking the city space to the coast. The road leading to Largo Abate Conforti, once called Largo of Assizes, was named Ascent of Capopiazza, while the current Via Romuald II Guarna was known as alle Potechelle. Along the street, Avossa Palace rises.
The street is named after the Archbishop of Salerno, active from 1153 to 1181, hagiographer, chronicler and doctor of the School of medicine in Salerno, belonging to the noble family of Guarna. Thanks to him we have the ambon, on the left of the central nave of the Cathedral of Salerno, the *Chronicon sive Annales*, a world history from its origins to 1178 and reference source for the history of the Norman Kingdom (arrived to us in various specimens currently preserved at the Vatican Apostolic Library and the National Library in Paris). In addition, perhaps, he was the responsible of the reform of the liturgy of Salerno, merged in the *Breviarium* of the Church of Salerno, manuscript survived in a copy of 1434, written in Gothic, kept in the diocesan Museum of Salerno.
The Palace was born from the unification and placement of two buildings wanted by the Della Calce family. The Avossa family had their ownership in the 18th century. As other buildings, it has a courtyard, decorated with five statues, and the rooms of the gallery where several paintings are displayed. Now lost scenes from the Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso decorated the walls of the big staircase leading to the upper floors. A part of the complex houses the Superintendence.
20. SAINT MATTHEW CATHEDRAL
In the 11th century, the ancient cathedral consecrated to St. Mary dei Genitrice assumed the dual naming of ‘St. Mary and St. Matthew’ after the arrival in 954 AD of the Apostle and Evangelist St. Matthew’s relics from Velia. The church was located behind the old bishop’s palace where it has been completely incorporated during the years. In 1085, Pope Gregory VII consecrated the new cathedral commissioned by Archbishop Alfanus I and financed by the Norman conqueror of the city, Robert Guiscard. The original building was developed on a structure of basilica with three naves of Late Antiquity inspiration, a few years before used also for the main church of Montecassino. Landulf Butrumile of Salerno, high dignitary of the Byzantine court, commissioned the bronze door in Constantinople in the late 11th century. In the 12th century, the building was completed with the four-sided portico and the bell tower, while the current façade and the stairway in the 18th century. Inside, inlaid marble floors, the mosaics, the two ambons, the Paschal candle, all of the 12th century, and the monumental tomb of Margaret of Durazzo of the early 15th century are very considerable. The crypt contains the tomb and the two-faced statue of the patron saint.
SAINT THOMAS’ ROOM
It is located in the four-sided portico of the Cathedral, on the right of the entrance gate (Lions Gate), and is known as the upper chapel of St. Catherine (the lower one corresponds to the current St. Lazaro’s room). It is said that originally the Studium of Theology was situated there. Here, St. Thomas taught in the years 1259-1268 and 1272-1273 and until the 18th century, it had been one of the teaching seats of the Schola Medica Salernitana.
THE IVORY ELEMENTS FROM THE CATHEDRAL, NOW AT THE MUSEUM
The about seventy tablets kept in the Diocesan Museum were destined to a liturgical throne or to the front of an altar. Undoubtedly, they are the most important ivory cycle of the Middle Ages. They illustrate scenes from the Old Testament, with emphasis on the biblical covenant between God and men – probably a reflection of the one drawn up between the Norman rulers and the Church – and the New Testament, with emphasis on the healings by Christ – likely a reflection of the activities of the local medical school.
THE PAINTINGS FROM THE CATHEDRAL, NOW AT THE DIOCESAN MUSEUM
The archbishop Isidoro Sanchez de Luna and the marquis Giovanni Ruggi of Aragon donated a part of their collection of religious paintings to the Cathedral. The paintings offer a glimpse of the highest figurative culture of the 17th century thanks to works like those of Judith by Francesco Guarino, the Virgin of the Rose by Massimo Stanzione, the Holy Family by Angelo Solimena and other valuable works by Luca Giordano, Giovan Battista Beinaschi and Nicola Vaccaro. Today, these works are visible in the Saint Matthew Diocesan Museum.
THE LIONS GATE AND THE FOUR-SIDED PORTICO
In the 12th century, the four-sided portico was annexed to the church. It was realized on two orders, the first made up of ancient columns and capitals of the Roman empire era, and the second of a loggia decorated with black and yellow tuff marquetry. The four-sided portico houses several medieval and roman sarcophagi and some gravestones coming from other city buildings. To complete it, a porphyry fountain, now at the City Park in Naples, and a marble gate in the center.
THE BELL TOWER
Very close to the four-sided portico, the bell tower was built by the Archbishop William of Ravenna (1137-1152), as remembered by the inscription affixed on the southern side. Built at the bottom with old ashlars and angle ancient columns, the upper part is lightened by the use of brick and mullioned windows. The dome completes it. It is decorated with woven arches and a band of polychrome inlays typical of the Norman architecture of the 12th century and present in many buildings of the same period in southern Italy.
FLOOR AND MOSAICS
The marble floors of the presbytery of the cathedral date back to the 12th century. In the apse on the right, the Baptism of Christ unites the original mosaic decoration of the late 13th – early 14th century, preserved on the upper part, to a fresco from the early 15th century in the lower zone, made to complete the scene remained incomplete or damaged by a cataclysm. In the apse on the right, probably originally decorated only with Michael the Archangel, in the middle of the 13th century, Giovanni da Procida, lord chancellor of King Manfredi, commissioned the paintings of the saints Matthew, Fortunatus, John, James and Lawrence. The client was portrayed on a smaller scale at the foot of Saint Matthew, the owner of the cathedral. The presence of the martyr Fortunatus depends on the fact that, along with Gaius and Ante, he was one of the patrons of Salerno before the transfer of the relics of Matthew.
The two ambons and the Paschal candle are masterpieces of the medieval southern art. The mosaic inscription on the ‘minor’ ambon remembers the client, the archbishop Romuald II Guarna († 1181), doctor, chronicler, capable emissary of the Norman kings of Sicily. The major ambon is traditionally linked to the figure of his successor Nicholas of Ajello († 1222). Marble workers active in Rome, Campania and Sicily have made them.
MARGARET OF DURAZZO’S SEPULCHRE
The monumental tomb of Margaret of Durazzo († 1412), wife of her cousin King Charles III of Naples, comes from the church of San Francesco. She was an able regent in place of her son Ladislao. She retired to Acquamela in Baronissi, where she died wearing the habit of the Franciscan tertiary. The tomb shows her lying, but also as a queen on the front and in the habit of a nun on the back, not visible now. An inscription remembers the name of the sculptor, Antonio Baboccio from Piperno.
The architects Domenico Fontana and Giulio Cesare built the crypt in the early 17th century organizing the space on the basis of the two-faced statue of St. Matthew by Michelangelo Naccherino. Belisarius Corenzio worked on the vault with scenes from the Childhood and Public life of Jesus. The apse was the chapel of the Schola Medica Salernitana that commissioned the bronze statues of the martyrs to Giovan Domenico Vinaccia, while the statues of the bishops of Salerno were made later by Francesco Ragozzino. In the two side apses, one dedicated to the Holy Martyrs and the other to the confessor bishops, **paintings** of the 17th century are located.
21. SAINT LAZARO’S ROOM – THE NATIVITY SCENE BY CAROTENUTO
Among the most beloved painters of Salerno, for over thirty years, Mario Carotenuto, born in 1922 in Tramonti, offers to the city the tale of faith and life of his depicted Nativity. Opened in 1982 with the presentation of a first traditional core of sacred figures, the nativity scene has gradually enriched with characters, witnesses of the civil and cultural history of the city. Among the protagonists in the installation, open from November to January, there are the poet Alfonso Gatto and, from 2014, the art critic Filiberto Menna.
In addition to the figures of the Nativity, in his painted scene, Mario Carotenuto has also placed the life-sized silhouettes of some protagonists of contemporary Salerno. Along with the artist’s family and friends, such as Peppe Natella, master of ceremonies of the Association Bottega San Lazzaro, the photographer Corradino Pellecchia and the graphic and artist Gelsomino D’Ambrosio, there are also very popular public figures. Among these, Alfonso Menna, the historic city mayor during the difficult years following World War II, depicted in 1994 at the age of 101, and Vincenzo De Luca, the most known name of the recent political and administrative history of Salerno. It is also possible to recognize some figures of the local clergy and the Neapolitan actress Concetta Barra, depicted in the scene of the Christmas lunch.
22. ARCHBISHOP’S PALACE – POMONA TEMPLE
Probably built between the 11th and the 12th centuries, the building was completely transformed in the 16th and 18th centuries, when the Neapolitan architect Ferdinando Sanfelice restored it. On the side towards the Cathedral, columns and fragments of arches decorated with colored stones remain from its foundation. It preserves paintings of the Neapolitan school of the 17th and 18th centuries, mostly coming from other seats of the Diocese, and an inscription of the 1st century AD that recalls decorative works of a Pomona temple funded by Titus Tettieno Felice. For a long period, the inscription was thought as coming from a religious building erected in this area, and the six columns with capitals decorated with female heads, visible on the ground floor of the palace, have been attributed to it. Instead, columns and capitals probably come from the so-called “Temple of Peace” in Paestum and the inscription from Rome.
HISTORY OF THE DIOCESE
The first news of the Diocese of Salerno dates back to the late 5th century and the beginning of the 6th, with mentions to the first archbishops Gaudenzio and Grammazio. In about 983, Amato was the first archbishop of the Church of Salerno. Among the archbishops of Salerno, during the second half of the 11th century, Alfanus I’s name stands out. He is linked to the Cathedral of Salerno along with the Norman Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria, and Pope Gregory VII. Over the time, the boundaries of the territory and jurisdiction of the diocese narrow. The annexations of the Dioceses of Acerno and Campagna occur respectively in 1818 and 1986, when the Archdiocese of Salerno – Campagna – Acerno is created.
23. VIA ROBERTO IL GUISCARDO
The passage that links the two buildings through the original chapel called ‘of the Ninth Hour’, named after the liturgical hour, is on the top of the street, which separates the Cathedral from the Archbishop’s Palace. On the side near the cathedral, there is the entrance to the crypt, which houses the tomb and the two-faced statue of Saint Matthew. For the people of Salerno, it is a traditional place for the celebration of weddings, to prove their devotion to the Patron Saint and receive his blessing.
ROBERT GUISCARD (1015-1085)
Descending from the Norman family of Hauteville, in 1059, he was nominated duke of Apulia, Calabria and future king of Sicily by Pope Nicholas II. During the years 1046-1077, he conquered southern Italy, taking it away from the Byzantines and the Lombards. In particular, he fought against the Lombard Prince Gisulf II of Salerno, until when, in 1077, he conquered the city of Salerno, where he could also lead Pope Gregory VII to safety, besieged in Rome by Henry IV. In the city, his name is particularly linked to the building of the Cathedral, consecrated in 1086.
24. VIA ANTONIO GENOVESI
The street, parallel to Via Duomo and adjacent to Via dei Bastioni, is named after the important economist, writer and philosopher of Salerno of the 18th century, professor at the University of Naples, where he taught “mechanical and trade”, the first political economics in Europe. His philosophical works had a huge success in Europe, particularly in Germany, in Spain and in Portugal.
VIA DEI BASTIONI AND THE ANCIENT CITY WALLS
The sea to the south and the mount Bonadies to the north naturally defended Salerno. On the mountain, there was the *turris maior*, defensive element built during the Greek-Gothic war (535-553), now incorporated within the structures of the Angevin-Aragonese castle. From it, to the east and west, descended two wall curtains that, closing to the south towards the sea, gave the city the typical triangular shape of the Byzantine cities. Some parts of the western walls are still visible. They, during the Lombard age, followed the flow of the Fusandola stream and joined at the bottom with the Chain Gate, immediately behind the current Church of the Annunciation. The eastern section of the walls came down near the church of S. Filippo Neri, where still there is a tower of the 16th century, and through the ascent of Montevergine, they came down to the actual Via delle Botteghelle, near the convent of St. George. During the Norman age, the urban expansion extended to the east and a new section of walls was built behind the new cathedral, now Via dei Bastioni. The walls, down through Via S. Alferio, arrived in Piazzetta Acerenza, and, incorporating the new government palace (Terracena Castle), closed to the south near the Church of the Crucifix not far from the church of St. Mary of the Domno.
25. VIA DEI CANAPARI
The street runs in the area known as San Giovanniello district, which takes its name from the church of St. John de Cannabariis, attached to the residence of the Norman Robert Guiscard. Here, there were artisans dedicated to the manufacturing and sale of hemps, nets, sacks and ropes of various kinds, hence the name of the street.
SAN GIOVANNIELLO DISTRICT
The medieval San Giovanniello district is today the result of the destructions of the Second World War. In fact, from June 21, 1943, many times Salerno saw Anglo-American bombardments and German battles, with guns too. Both the areas immediately surrounding the center of Salerno, as the suburbs of Pastena and Giovi, and some districts in the Old city center, as San Giovanniello district, were affected by these events and, still today, there are buildings in ruins.
26. TERRACENA CASTLE
It is probably the residence of the Norman dukes. The tower-houses overlooking Largo San Giovanni show remains of decorations with stone inlay works, result of construction phases between the 11th and 13th centuries. The complex has seen sieges and has hosted sovereigns, including Fredrick II’s mother, Constance of Hauteville, as evidenced by the miniatures of the poem by Peter of Eboli, the Liber ad honorem Augusti.
STONE INLAY WORKS
The building still has traces of the original decorations of the Norman period, as the mullioned and single-lancet windows embellished with inlaid colored geometric frames, made of blocks of gray tuff, yellow tuff, calcarenite and cotto tiles, following the style of the time.
LIBER AD HONOREM AUGUSTI
The *Liber ad honorem Augusti sive de rebus Siculis*, known as *Carmen de motibus Siculis*, is stored in the Burgerbibliothek in Bern. Peter of Eboli, lived at the Swabian court between the 11th and the 12th century, wrote this epic, dedicated to emperor Henry VI of Swabia, between 1195 and 1197. In the poem, six miniatures refer to the castle, indicating its location behind the cathedral, under the mount *Bonadies*.
27. VIA PIETRO BARLIARIO
Doctor of Salerno lived perhaps in the 12th century. Probably, according to the legend, he practiced the occult sciences and the alchemy, unintentionally causing the death of his grandchildren in a fire in his laboratory. After burning his magic books, he would have regretted in front of a wooden crucifix – today at the Diocesan Museum – and Jesus would have bended down his head as a sign of forgiveness. His figure has been very successful in the folklore of Salerno that thinks he has prodigiously erected the medieval aqueduct, called “Arc of the devils.”
The so-called ‘Crucifix of Pietro Barliario’, very deteriorated, has refined pictorial similarities with the painting in Umbria and Lazio of the middle decades of the 13th century. The location of the sorrowful, Mary and John the Evangelist, on the sides of Christ, is however an archaic aspect of the previous century. It is possible that the cross has arrived to Salerno with the first Franciscan friars, who, as the founder Francesco, promoted an intense veneration of the Cross.
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