Salerno is an ancient city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the namesake province. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. The city is divided into three distinct zones: the medieval sector, the 19th century sector and the more densely populated post-war area, with its several apartment blocks.
Human settlement at Salerno has a rich and vibrant past, dating back to pre-historic times. The site has been one of the most important and strategic ports on the Mediterranean sea, yielding a rich Greco-Roman heritage. It was an independent Lombard principality, Principality of Salerno, in the early Middle Ages. During this time, the Schola Medica Salernitana, the first medical school in the world, was founded. The Normans in 1077 made Salerno the capital of their rule in all continental southern Italy. In the 16th century, under the Sanseverino family, among the most powerful feudal lords in southern Italy, the city became a great centre of learning, culture and the arts, and the family hired several of the greatest intellectuals of the time. Later, in 1694, the city was struck by several catastrophic earthquakes and plagues.