3 Unexpected Day Trips From Salerno, Italy

Located in Campania, Italy, the port city of Salerno is a popular hub for tourists making their way to Positano & Amalfi. While enchanting towns along the Amalfi coast are numerous, they’re often overcrowded and commercialized. Keep reading to learn how to travel like a local on your next vacation with these 3 unexpected day trips from Salerno, Italy.


1. Explore ancient Greek temples in Paestum

When talking about Italy and ancient ruins, historians tend to focus on Roman ruins. Yet, 45 minutes south of Salerno along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea lies a much different and much older set of ruins. Settled by the Greeks in 600 BC, Poseidonia (later renamed Paestum by the Romans) was a major city in Magna Grecia. Abandoned in the middle ages and untouched until the 18th century, today it houses some of the most well-preserved Doric temples in the world.
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Temple of Hera II – one of the most well-preserved Greek temples in Italy

Walk among ruins of the ancient agora and amphitheaters and visit the national archeological museum across the street (€9 gets you access to both the museum and the ruins). Inside the museum find the famous fresco The Tomb of the Diver (discovered on accident by an artichoke farmer in 1969!) Preserved as if it were just painted yesterday, it’s the only large-scale Greek fresco from this time to survive in entirety.

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Hera II

2. Eat ice cream made with buffalo’s milk at Tenuta Vannulo in Capaccio.

People in Campania are serious about their mozzarella di bufala. This special mozzarella is made from the milk of the Mediterranean water buffalo and is so prized that it even comes with a special certification. As a result, there are hundreds of cheese farms or Caseificio in this region. After a recent visit to the Caseificio Tenuta Vannulo in the small town of Capaccio, it became clear this was no ordinary Italian cheese producer.

Unofficially, Tenuta Vannulo is only the chicest day spa in Campania for water buffalo. Officially, it’s a certified organic farm and cheese producer. Take a tour and you’ll find a true utopia for its animal inhabitants. The concept is simple: a stress-free environment that improves the animal’s wellbeing produces a better product. Open air, sunshine, music, washing stations and massagers on demand – is this a buffalo spa? The best part? They choose when to be milked by walking into an automatic milking station when they feel like it.

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Take a tour of their cheese production area and see how mozzarella is made by hand. They even have a tannery with small leather goods for sale and an extensive collection of farming equipment from the old days (you know, if you’re into that sort of thing). Reserve a spot for lunch in their tasting room and have a private meal where you’ll enjoy organic products from their farm.

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However, the highlight of the trip (if we’re being honest) is their Yogurteria. Their selection of artisanal yogurts, gelato, whipped cream, and jarred spreads (all made with buffalo milk) are enough to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. Be sure to come hungry and enjoy a homemade brioche with hazelnut spread for breakfast! You won’t regret it. Next head over to their Caseificio to buy your mozzarella and ricotta (but go early before they sell out!)

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3. Try Colatura di Alici in Cetara

Twenty-five minutes from Salerno tiny whitewashed homes baked into the cliffs hug the shoreline of Cetara. Cetara, a small unspoiled fishing town of less than 3,000 is a hidden gem on the emerald Amalfi coast. Cetara is now renowned for its Colatura di Alici, a savory amber-colored anchovy sauce used as a condiment in many dishes.

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Italians know that creating exceptional things (especially food and art) take time. The slow production time of the colatura is an example of this dedication and workmanship. The anchovies are harvested on the Amalfi coast in the summertime and pressed in weighted wooden barrels, which are drained in the autumn for their salty, sticky sauce. Come to Cetara to pick up a bottle and enjoy the solitude you’d be hard pressed to find in neighboring Positano or Amalfi.

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