Salermo & The Cilento
Salerno may not have the glamorous looks of the Amalfi Coast resorts, but its picturesque centro storico (historic centre) comprises an intriguing labyrinth of colourful earthy streets, which makes for a refreshing change from the more touristy towns to the west.
An enthralling archeological museum and Norman cathedral add depth, and there’s also a spacious waterfront promenade lined with palm trees as well as a lively restaurant scene.
The fascinating excavations at nearby Paestum include some of the world’s best-preserved Greek temples standing proud among meadows scattered with wildflowers. The museum here holds some captivating ancient frescoes, including the famous Tomba del Truffatore (Tomb of the Diver).
And don’t miss the Cilento region, one of this area’s lesser-known glories, with a largely undeveloped coastal strip and a beautiful national park famed for its orchids. Villages here have a tangible stuck-in-a-time-warp feel, so be prepared for stares. It’s a burgeoning region for walkers, and agriturismi (farm-stay accommodation) make perfect bases. The region has some heavyweight sights as well, including an extraordinary monastery, an evocative archaeological site, and intriguing grottoes and caves.