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  • Trani

    From: Barletta-Andria-Trani Province, Puglia

    Swabian Castle Trani
    Swabian Castle
    Trani, the third capital city of the province, was originally called Turenum or Tirenum. It has a circular port dating back to the 3rd century, but the city became important only after the destruction of nearby Canosa in the 11th century. The oldest maritime codex of the Middle Ages was issued in Trani in the year 1000, at a time when many important families from Amalfi, Pisa and Venice moved there; by the 12th century Trani had its own consul in Venice. The Palace of the Doges of Venice is now a seminary. During the Middle Ages, it was well known as the port of choice to the East. During the 13th century Emperor Frederick II, builder of Castel del Monte, built a massive castello in Trani (rebuilt in the 14th century and again in the 15th century), and under his rule the town flourished. Trani is famous for a local limestone called "marmo di Trani" (Trani marble) and for its DOC Moscato wine. Each summer it becomes a crowded bathing resort with elegant night clubs, international entertainment and fashion shows.

    Trani's 12th century rose-colored Romanesque Cathedral of Saint Nicholas the Pilgrim (a Greek killed in Trani in 1094, canonized by Pope Urban II) dominates the port, welcoming visitors from the sea; it is flanked by a very tall campanile which was rebuilt after World War II using original materials. Its superb bronze doors were made by Barisano, who was from Trani; the doors depict Hercules, Saracen archers and long-haired Normans. The cathedral is said to be made up of three churches, built atop one another.

    About 2 km southeast of Trani is the old 11th-12th century Benedectine Abbey of Santa Maria di Cotonna. The town has had a Jewish quarter since the 12th century, with the largest Jewish community in southern Italy. One of the greatest medieval rabbis, Rabbi Isaiah ben Mali di Trani, was born there in 1180. Unfortunately, under Anjou and Aragon rule in the 14th-16th centuries the Jews were persecuted. Two old synagogues remain today: the 13th century Scolanova Synagogue (which spent centuries as a church before being rededicated as a synagogue) and the Church of Sant'Anna, formerly a medieval synagogue. In 1799 French troops massacred a large number of Trani's residents.

    Next Page: Trinitapoli

    In this article:
    Barletta-Andria-Trani Province, Puglia
    Canosa di Puglia
    Margherita di Savoia
    Minervino Murge and San Ferdinando di Puglia
    Related resources:
    Puglia Region Guide

    Comunes of Italy, Issue 71, Nov.-Dec. 2009


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