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Historical notes   freccia

There is very little information regarding the origins of Salerno, although we are lead to believe that the area was inhabited from the early days. We know the Greeks brought to the vast plains, the cultivation of linen and wheat crops, olives and fruit, whilst the Etruscans brought the textile, ceramic and bronze industries.
In 197/4 B.C it became a Roman colony under the name of “Salernum”. The colony progressed, enriching its culture and its traditions, even during the Goti dominion. But only after the Lombardy conquest did it become the most flourishing centre of southern Italy.
In 786, Arechi II transferred the ducal seat of Benevento to Salerno to escape an attack by Carlo Magno and gain control of a strategic area between the coast and inland comunications. The Longobard prince fortified the town, which already possessed the castle on the Bonadies hill, with walls and towers, thus the new capitol became a principality seat and political centre.
During the reign of Arechi II, Salerno knew great splendour, becoming the seat of the oldest medical institution in western europe. The famous School of Medicine became known for its precious scientific discoveries fundamental for the present day.
On 13 th December 1076, the Norman leader Roberto the Guiscard, conquered Salerno, bringing an end to the old age domination. The Terracina Castle and Cathedral were built under Norman rule and great importance was given to science, in particular the School of Medicine. At the end of the century, a period of economical awakening was registered in the town with the coming of the Normans. Manfred, the son of Federico II, built the jetty which has still his name today and founded the annual fair of S. Mathew, the most significant of its kind in southern Italy.
Queen Margherita of Durazzo took up residence in Salerno after the Angoin conquest. She is buried in the cathedral in a monumental tomb, work of the famous sculptor Barbocio da Piperno.
After the XVI century most of the province of Salerno was ruled by the Princes of Sanseverino, strong overlords who attracted men of art and culture to the town. In the first decade of the XVI century, the last descendant of the Sanseverino's disagreed with the Spanish government, bringing ruin to the family which brought decline to the town.
The years 1656, 1688 and 1694 are painful dates for Salerno: plague and earthquakes produced numerous victims. A slow rebirth of the town began at the end of the Spanish empire, during the XVIII century, with the construction of many lordly properties and churches which can still be seen today in the old town.
In 1799, Salerno became part of the Neapolitan Republic. During this period, Gioacchino Murat demanded the closure of the School of Medicine. Religious orders were suppressed at the same time and many ecclesiastical properties were confiscated.
The town expanded outside the ancient walls. An urban development of the area began which continued after the Unity of Italy up to the second world war with the expansion of many suburban areas and the construction of both public and residential buildings.
In September 1943, Salerno witnessed the allied landings and from 12 th February to 17 th July 1944 was the seat of the Badoglio government. The aftermath of war was difficult for all Italians, but Salerno has slowly succeeded in growing and devolping into a modern european town.