Salerno Cathedral - History and Facts | History Hit

Salerno Cathedral

Salerno, Campania, Italy

Salerno Cathedral is an eleventh century cathedral housing the tomb of Saint Matthew the Evangelist.

Peta Stamper

14 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Salerno Cathedral

Salerno Cathedral in Italy (Duomo di Salerno) is an historic 11th century cathedral built upon the ruins of a 9th century Christian church and, beneath that, a Roman temple. The cathedral was dedicated to Saint Matthew the Evangelist by its Norman founder, and the remains of this evangelist saint are still contained in the cathedral’s crypt.

Salerno Cathedral has required renovation over the years, particularly in the 15th and 17th centuries, the influences of these changes being visible in its mix of styles.

Salerno Cathedral history

Salerno Cathedral was constructed in 1080 and its founder, Robert Guiscard, dedicated it to San Matteo, known as Saint Matthew the Evangelist. Guiscard, who was a Norman duke of Apulia and Calabria who had recently taken over southern Italy, probably knew that this dedication would be a popular move, as San Matteo’s relics had recently been transferred to Salerno.

An earthquake in 1688 destroyed much of the Norman cathedral at Salerno, and so the interior was remodelled in the Neapolitan and Rococo styles. The Duomo has continually been seen as a symbol of the Italian Renaissance because inside lays the tomb of Pope Gregory VII, who began Italy’s rejection of German Holy Roman control.

During the Allied bombing raids known as Operation Avalanche in World War Two, the Duomo was damaged.

Salerno Cathedral today

Today’s structure at Salerno Cathedral dates back to the 17th century rebuild. Visitors walk through the cathedral’s bronze Byzantine door into the church where the nave is decorated with sculptures and mosaics galore. Without charge you can take a guided tour of Salerno Cathedral, heading to the Treasure Chapel where you can admire the gothic relics – including Saint Matthew’s arm.

Getting to Salerno Cathedral

Nestled within Salerno’s Rione Duome district, Salerno Cathedral is easily found on foot or via public transport. The train station, with links across the Bay of Naples and beyond, is only a 15 minute walk away. Buses 1 and 26 stop at Trincerone-scale Sottopasso only 5 minutes from the cathedral.