Cava borders northwards with Nocera Superiore, Roccapiemonte and Mercato San Severino, eastwards with Baronissi, Pellezzano and Salerno, southwards with Vietri sul Mare and Maiori, westwards with Tramonti. The town is a link between the Agro Nocerino Sarnese area (level morphology and agricultural and industrial economy) and the Sorrento and Amalfi Peninsulas (mountainous morphology and economy based on tourism).
The appellative de' Tirreni given to Cava is due to the identification, still uncertain, of the territory with the ancient Etruscan town called "Marcina" mentioned by Strabo. The valley was surely inhabited during the Roman Age: the discovery of several archeological relics dating back to that period is an evidence.
At the beginning of the 11th century, an early group of monks got together at the foot of Monte Finestra, attracted by the fame of saintliness of a Longobard noble, Alferio Pappacarbone, who lived there collecting his thoughts in contemplation and prayer. So the Benedictine Abbey of the Holy Trinity was born in 1011 and it became one of the most vivid religious and cultural centres of the South of Italy. The prestige of the saintly men leading the Abbey, together with the need of finding protection, caused the birth of an early residential complex around. In time, thanks to the continuous donations, the possessions of the Abbey increased, while the relative tranquillity of the valley brought to a growth in handicraft and commerce.
The autonomy from abbatial domination was a slow conquest, not free from moments of tension. In 1394, the Pope Boniface IX raised the territory's status to that of a "City", separating Cava from the archdiocese of Salerno and setting it up as diocese directly depending on the Holy See, and entrusted a bishop (that would have been also abbey) with the new diocese. But the Cavesi, who could nt bear the feudal dependence of the Abbey, attacked and devastated it several times between 1335 and 1508, claiming their authonomy. Pope Leo X agreed to their claim and with the Bull "Sincere Devotionis" of the March 22 1513 set up Cava as autonomous diocese.
Cava had became a prosperous town thanks to the commerce and the industriousness of its inhabitants, who excelled in weaving and in building art. Architects and engineers from Cava worked on the main public and private projects in the South of Italy. Gradually, the centre of the town moved from "Corpo di Cava", walled town close to the Abbey, to "Borgo Scacciaventi", also called lo commerzio ("the commerce", in dialect): the pillars that we can still see date back to the beginnings of 1400 and are called "Portici" (porticoes). They still represent the centre of Cava de' Tirreni.
A lot of the population lived in the hamlets, some of them hard to reach, and the territory arrived at Cetara (Vietri sul Mare, Cetara and other smaller hamlets seceded from Cava in 1806). People went to Borgo Scacciaventi for commerce and business. The most rich families started building at the Borgo their palaces, traders and artisans built houses on their shops, that grew ahead with the porticoes, in order to protect the goods.
Formerly known as "Città de La Cava", it was theatre of a very important historical event for that time. King Ferdinand of Aragon, who ruled on Naples' territories, felt into an ambush of the Angevins nearby Sarno about in 1460. Cavesi, leaded by the captains Giosuè and Marino Longo, armed themselves with breathless haste at best, with forks, other improvised items and weapons, and attacked Angevins who, astonished by the event and unable to assess the entity of the attack, were forced to pull back, giving the possibility to King Ferdinand of Aragon to create an escape route to Naples. Grateful for the shown courage and the good turn, the King sent to the mayor Onofrio Scannapieco a Blank Parchment, on which the city could have ask every requirement. The Parchment remained blank and the King conferred upon the whole city the title of Fedelissima ("The Most Loyal"). It is still conserved, untouched and blank as in 1460, in the town hall, and it is the desired price of the annual folk event called Disfida dei Trombonieri.
In the hamlets, fields under cultivation of fruit and tobacco are present, while, in the industrial estate, you can see factories of food, mechanical, textile and furniture products.
The freight yard is nowadays unused, but it still reminds the long industrial tradition of Cava. All regional trains stops in the station, while buses to Amalfi Coast, Salerno, Sarno, Pompeii, Naples and University of Salerno starts from the square opposite the station.