Of the three capital cities of the province of Barletta-Andria-Trani, Trani is the smallest one. The biggest attraction of the city, which has around 55,000 inhabitants is the 13th century Castle built by Frederick II. Its beach is considered to be one of the best and cleanest in the area. Especially during the summer, the sea side establishments are packed with tourists.
Trani travel guide
Tourist office: Turenum Pro Loco Trani – Piazza Trieste, 8 (Phone: +39 5575405). Town hall: Via Tenente Luigi Morrico, 2 (Phone: +39 0883 581331). Train station: Trani has its own station, on the Adriatica line between Lecce and Bologna. It is also from the station that most buses to the smaller provincial towns depart.
The biggest attraction of Trani is the Castle, which was founded in the 13th century by Frederick II. It was later strengthened by Charles V. From 1844 till 1974, the castle was used as a prison.
The Sant’Antonio fortress used to protect the eastern part of the port.
From the railway station, the Via Cavour leads to the Piazza Plebiscito and the public gardens. The main square of the city, Piazza Repubblica, is more or less halfway.
The San Nicola Pellegrino Cathedral in the Piazza Duomo is constructed on top of an earlier basilica. It is named for the patron saint of the city, who was known as a “Holy Fool”. The “Holy Fools” of “Fools for Christ” are known to challenge accepted, “normal” behavior for religious purposes.
The Ognissanti Church was built by the Knights Templar. It is here that Norman knights swore allegiance to their leaders, before embarking on the First Crusade.
The highlight of the Scolanova Church is a Byzantine “Madonna of the Martyrs” painting. When the district was still Jewish, it used to be a Synagogue.
In the historical center there are several other interesting churches and historical mansions and palaces.
The Santa Maria di Colonna Abbey is located on a peninsula.
A brief history of Trani
According to legend, Trani is supposed to have been founded by Tyrrhenus, who was a son of the Greek hero Diomedes. Diomedes was one of the warriors who conquered Troy by hding inside the famous wooden horse. He also founded several Italian cities himself, including Benevento and Vasto.
The name derives from its original name Turenum, which was mentioned in a 13th century map called Tabula Peuteringeriana. This was probably a copy of a Roman original and showed the Roman road network all over Europe.
According to an alternative hypothesis the city is named after the Emperor Trajan.
In the 9th century, after nearby Canosa di Puglia had been destroyed by the Saracens, Trani became a bishop’s seat. Thanks to its coastal position it became an embarkation point for merchants traveling to the near east. As a result, the city expanded rapidly.
Under the reign of Frederick II of Swabia a castle and a defensive wall were built.
When the House of Anjou gained power in the area, the city entered a period of decay. This was reversed under the House of Aragon and, later, the Venetians.
Toward the end of the 16th century, Trani became the seat of the Sacra Udienza Reale (a kind of Court of Appeals) of the Kingdom of Naples, which was then under Spanish rule. After this it became the main city in the area, and, especially in the 19th century, expanded rapidly.
How to get to Trani by car
Trani is located along the A14 highway between Bologna and Taranto. The SS16 connects the city to Barletta and Foggia in the north and Bari in the south. The SP130 leads to the other provincial capital Andria.