From the Swabian period, in which Frederick II made of Trani his fortified maritime outpost, until the fifteenth century, a century of absolute splendor in which Trani represented the most important maritime and mercantile center of the southern Adriatic (the city that gave the Maritime Statutes , long supported by the city of Venice, which was even given “in pledge” at the end of the century), Trani played an eminent role in the regional chessboard of powers and privileges.

Then it became the seat of the Royal Audience at the end of the 16th century, and since then (and until today) the “forensic city” par excellence.

This is the sea of ​​monuments, the sea of ​​powers.

But today, looking at the port of Trani, looking at it from left to right, it accounts for two less monumental realities, but equally important for defining the most complex contemporary imaginary, which makes the city (and the inhabitant) love this city:

the parade of beautiful fishing boats on the left, with intense colors and evocative names, and the expanse of pleasure boats on the right, these signals of an “inhabited” sea, of a functioning and equipped port, of a city that still looks towards the sea even without the burden of supremacy to be affirmed and defended.

Castle, Cathedral, Court, but also the twentieth century municipal villa, which leads back to the civic and bourgeois characters that constitute the cultural root of the modern city, are visible from the sea even better than from the earth, as if it were still waiting for visitors , arriving on boats or ships (and often it is so: many tourists in small and big yachts moor here to stock up on food or gasoline, perhaps on the Greek islands route, and instead of one day they stop two, three, and then maybe decide to rent a house on the harbor …).


Built in honour of St. Nicolas the Pilgrim, work began on this cathedral in 1099, the year in which the saint was canonised. It was completed in 1143 without a bell-tower.
In the shape of a Latin cross, it is divided into three aisles with binate columns; the central nave faces the women’s gallery via fourteen artistic three-light windows.  The central nave and the transept are covered with exposed trusses, while the two side aisles have cross beams.
On a whole one gets a sense of majesty and greatness, which is emphasised by the triumphal arch overlooking the entrance to the transept and the very high apses. The presbytery hosts traces of a mosaic dating back to the XII century and was perhaps part of the first decorated floor, which is signed by the priest Pantaleon.
The transversal crypt, in honour of St. Nicholas the Pilgrim, was designed in the XII century and completed in 1142; it is composed of 42 transepts supported by 28 Greek marble columns topped with capitals made from the same stone.
On 25 April 2002 the Cathedral has been declared “Monument messenger of a culture of peace” by UNESCO.


Trani castle is one of the most beautiful examples of fortification erected in Puglia by Frederick II of Swabia. Its construction, which mirrors the shape of the Adriatic sea, began in 1233 and was completed in or around 1249.
In 1259 it hosted the wedding of Manfred, son of Frederick II, and Elena Comneno, who was the daughter of Michael II King of Epirus. Due to the arrival of new firearms, in the early 1500’s the castle was subjected to considerable change with the demolition of some parts and the construction of new sections, including the new lancet embankment situated on its western side.
From 1586 to 1677 it held the office of the Sacra Regia Udienza, a judicial, administrative and political body in Bari. It was a prison from 1860 to 1975 and was restored to public use in 1998.


Located on the peninsula of the same name, about 2 km from the town centre, this monument dates back to the start of the 1100’s.
The monastery was first home to the Benedictine monks and then, from 1427 to 1867, home to the Franciscan monks; it was abandoned for many decades and was restored to its original splendour by the town council which turned it into an exhibition centre and place of cultural gatherings.
The church has a basilica plan, divided into three aisles by square pillars; of particular interest, the rose window on the main façade dating back to the XII century and a wooden crucifix from the XV century in the church for which the inhabitants of Trani are particularly devoted. It is celebrated on the 3rd of May with a solemn boat procession.

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