Christmas Lights in Salerno, Italy: The Luci d'Artista

by sockii

Visiting the Italian city of Salerno is especially a treat in the Winter holiday season, as the streets are lit up in a dazzling display of Christmas lights.

Should you make it to the beautiful city of Salerno Salerno, Italy around Christmastime, you are in for an amazing discovery: the Luci d'Artista. It's a particularly artistic Christmas light display that celebrates the season in uniquely Italian style. In city piazzas, down narrow ancient streets, along the waterfront and throughout the city, dazzling colorful displays create a fantastical wonderland that draws visitors to this area of the Amalfi coast from all throughout Europe.

It was by pure accident that my partner David and I ended up in Salerno in January 2014 while the lights were on display; I had no idea about the city's tradition and it ended up being such a wonderful surprise and highlight of our stay in the city. The lights are not just of typical decorations themed around Christmas trees, stars and reindeer; in Salerno's Luci d'Artista you will find Chinese dragons and lanterns, fairy princesses, penguins, butterflies, flying carpets, lizards and even a coral reef! Many of the displays are made from recycled materials and using LED lights as well to conserve energy and resources. We found it incredible fun to simply wander around and happen upon displays we had not seen, but the city also puts out a map every year showing where all the major installations are located.

The Luci d'Artista cultural event has been held in Salerno since 2006, and is undertaken in partnership with the northern Italian city of Turin, where the tradition began in 1998. The lights are a part of what makes Salerno such a great winter holiday destination compared to other Amalfi coast towns, as restaurants, shops, and lodgings stay open to accommodate the many visitors while other nearby towns are largely shuttered off-season.

Come join me as I share some of my photos from our visit to Salerno and their beautiful Christmas lights!

 

Walking through a tunnel of lights in Salerno, Italy during the Christmas season.
Walking through a tunnel of lights in Salerno, Italy during the Christmas season.
On a rainy January night, the lights reflect a colorful rainbow on a Salerno piazza.
On a rainy January night, the lights reflect a colorful rainbow on a Salerno piazza.

When and where to see the lights in Salerno

Salerno jellyfishThe Luci d'Artista lights are on display from November through late January; when we were in Salerno between January 13-17 this year (2014), a few displays were just beginning to be taken down but most were still in place.

Many displays are all in easy walking distance throughout the historic center of Salerno, but others are scattered further throughout the modern outlying areas of the city. If you're renting a car you should be able to find them all no problem, but walking is so much more fun!

Salerno itself is very easy to get to, wherever you may be staying in Italy. It is located on the high speed rail line that connects Turin to Rome and Naples, and from Naples it is only a 40 minute comfortable ride on the Frecciarossa line. There are also buses from Naples, and along the Amalfi coast connecting Salerno to other popular destinations including Positano and Amalfi town. You can learn more at the wikitravel guide to Salerno.

A rainbow of color welcomes visitors in this Christmas coral reef.
A rainbow of color welcomes visitors in this Christmas coral reef.
It's a flying shark? Don't worry, he won't bite.
It's a flying shark? Don't worry, he won't bite.
Chinese lanterns and colorful trees during the Luci d'artista.
Chinese lanterns and colorful trees during the Luci d'artista.

Where to stay in Salerno?

Tree of LightsIf you are coming to Salerno to see the Luci d'Artista, you will of course want to stay overnight to see them illuminating the evening sky! There are a number of lodging options in the city, including a large modern hotel near the train station, and I personally recommend Salerno Centro B&B where we stayed for four nights this January. This bed and breakfast is located in the heart of the city's historic center and within easy walking distance of many of the lighting displays, excellent restaurants, and other Salerno attractions. The owners of Salerno Centro also provide excellent personal service and will help arrange other activities if you are staying for several days, from a private tour of the Amalfi Coast to the ancient ruins of Paestum.

You can see the many excellent reviews of Salerno Centro B&B on TripAdvisor, which is what convinced me to stay there myself.

A garden of colorful lights.
A garden of colorful lights.
A colorful Chinese dragon weaves his way around a building front in Salerno.
A colorful Chinese dragon weaves his way around a building front in Salerno.
Narrow streets and alleys too are filled with colorful Christmas lights.
Narrow streets and alleys too are filled with colorful Christmas lights.

Luci d'artista: Official websites

A video of the 2012-2013 Lights Display

Plan a trip to Salerno and the rest of the Amalfi Coast

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Care to join me in Salerno next Christmas?

Salerno rabbit lights
Updated: 05/15/2015, sockii
 
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NanciArvizu on 05/17/2015

Beautiful! I love the dragon! What a wonderful accidental discovery. Thank you for sharing!

Mira on 05/16/2015

I love the bunny :) Nice idea to have these more artsy Christmas lights. I'm tired of the usual ones -- though I remember a time when they were a novelty. Of course we didn't have them during Communist times

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