Friday, December 08, 2006

Salerno 12.7.06

Salerno 12.7.06

We've spent a few more days now in Salerno and on further exploration we have come to really enjoy wandering around the historic part of the city. Now that it is Christmas time they have hung large balls of greenery with red berries on all the old lampposts and it's very charming. Down the main shopping street (the newer part with less charm) they have overhung gigantic white balls with bits of plastic fluff sticking out all over and dotted with lights. The stores are overflowing with gifts and the streets are crowded with shoppers. I prefer walking through the historic center, the old part of the city, where the streets are narrow and jumbled and there are still craftsmen in their small shops finishing furniture, making shoes, even a clothier who makes men's suits where the bolts of fabric are displayed in the windows. There are also clothing shops and jewelry stores etc and I stepped into a Pasticceria and admired all the candies and cakes and was sorely tempted. I may have to go back and buy one for our Christmas celebration!

We found the Garden of Minerva the other day and even though it was a Monday and it was supposed to be closed the man working there let us in and we took a look around. It cascades down the hillside towards the sea with all these terraces and stairways covered with vines. Another guy working there told us we should come back in the spring and we plan to do that. We think it will be spectacular. The views of the harbor and the city were wonderful.

There is a lot of restoration work going on in Salerno and much is sorely needed. But the more we explore, the more interesting places we find. Like the public garden where we ate our lunch today. We ordered a couple of paninis from one of the alimentari (grocery stores) and sat on a park bench in front of the fountain. The Bird of Paradise are blooming and the white agapanthus is about to. There are large banana palm trees and large trees of different varieties. It is well tended and a very pleasant place to relax and get off your feet, after hours of wandering the cobblestone streets.

All in all, we have been here in this area for little over a month now and keep finding interesting places. Tonight we are going to get up in the middle of the night and walk down to the Marina. It's the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and here in Italy it officially marks the beginning of the Christmas season. There are processions and festivities in many cities. Here, there is supposed to be a procession from the church down to the sea culminating in bonfires on the beach. We even took a nap this afternoon so we can stay up late. It starts around 3am!

Here are just a few images of Salerno

Keys in a shop in Salerno

Fruit and vegetable shop in Salerno

View of Salerno's harbor at night

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