This town has a lot of shopping. There is a big shopping street – a bit like Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade. It’s a lot of Forever 21 clones, Pac-Sun imitations, Sephora-type stores (plus the actual Sephora), and some versions of Claire’s.
One type of store they also have a lot of is pajama stores. (They also sell some not-so-cute lingerie, socks, and undershirts for both genders.) What’s interesting to me is that the regular street clothing that is appropriate here is tight and body-hugging: (p)leather or stretch pants are especially popular. But then you see these stores that sell pajamas, and the pjs are loose and almost asexual. They make me think of Joe Boxer t-shirts, shorts, and pants from the 90s: worn a size too big and often with a cutesy saying. It’s as though Italy has decided to do it opposite of the US: in public, they are sexy and beguiling, and in their bedrooms, they may as well be wearing paper sacks.
Also interesting is that Salerno has a lot of stands that sell french fries (called ‘chips,’ of course). They are little store fronts between clothing and perfume stores. They serve exactly one type of fries, though usually with a choice of sauces with different made-up names. The fries are given to you in a paper cone, with the sauce poured on top. You are meant to eat them with a stick that serves the purpose of a toothpick, but in the size of a chop stick. My favorite one was named ‘Frank Potato,’ though I suspect that an honest tater is not what they meant.
Much of the town seems to stroll about in the evenings. They do this on the main pedestrian shopping street, as well as along the harbor.
As in Naples, they were more likely to tolerate our horrible Italian than to speak English to us.
Though it’s a fairly small city, it had a lot to recommend it. Not only does it have plenty of food variety and pedestrian streets, it has its well-known lights festival, the aforementioned brioche treat, and even a big center of medical learning from the 11th to the 18th centuries. In some ways, it seems more like a city than bigger places like Naples even.
Several of the churches in town had a big Mary on the altar, and they all seemed to resemble porcelain dolls.