la cattedrale in riva al Mare.
The name comes from Tirenum or lure-num,
and legend has it that Tirreno, the son of Diomedes, founded
the town, which is mentioned in the Peutinger Table, an ancient
map of the world. Trani became important after the destruction
of Canosa by the Saracens, and under the Normans was allowed
a number of privileges. The Ordinamenta Maris, the oldest
medieval maritime code, was drawn up here. The town flourished
under Frederick II, who had a Castle built, but in the Angevin
period began to decline, thriving again only in the XV century.
Its decline set in definitively under Spanish rule, though
at the beginning of the XVII century it boasted a Law School.
The town's glorious past is confirmed by the churches and
residences of its old town, including the beautiful XVIII
century Palazzo Caccetta, Palazzo Quercia and Palazzo Bianchi.
old town extends along the port and onto a small peninsula,
where the Cathedral, dedicated to S. Nicola Pellegrino, stands
in a stupendous position directly beside the sea. Unique as
regards its site, it is without doubt one of the finest examples
of Apulian-Romanesque architecture and one of the most magnificent
churches in the whole of Italy, bearing witness to the splendour
of Trani in medieval times. Its construction was begun in
1097, on the site of the older church of S. Maria, and progressed
in stages, the main phase falling between 1159 and 1197. Its
smooth, imposing façade in pink-white stone is soberly
decorated with a monofora and an eye, positioned above three
windows, arranged in a line.
central one of these windows is larger than the other two,
lavishly decorated, and flanked on both sides by a lion and
an elephant rising on a corbel. The lower part of the façade
is ornamented by a series of blind arches, while the exquisite
portal frames a superb bronze door by Barisano da Trani (1180).
The bell-tower, built in the first half of the XIII century,
was the work of Nicolaus Sacerdos et Protomagister. The interior
of the Cathedral is divided between the upper section, corrupted
in the XIX century and recently restored, and the lower section,
dedicated to S. Maria della Scala, which contains the crypt
of S. Nicola and the underground tomb of S. Leucio.
Castle, constructed by Frederick II, was begun in 1233 and
completed in 1249. Later alterations were carried out in the
times of Charles I and Charles II of Anjou by Pierre d'Angicourt.
The Castle was carelessly treated in later centuries and used
as a prison until a few years ago, when it underwent restoration.
Standing in the courtyard of the Templars' Hospital, the early
XII century church of Ognissanti is another of the many splendid
churches in Trani, its façade is made up by a double
portico resting on columns.
include: the church of S. Teresa, a fine example of Baroque
architecture, which houses paintings from the school of Corrado
Giaquinto; the medieval church of S. Giacomo, with its beautiful
portal, restored in 1647; the church of S. Andrea, in Byzantine
style with a central cupola; the church of S. Domenico, a
Romanesque structure, rebuilt in 1763; and the church of S.
Francesco, founded in 1176 by the Benedictines, who in the
XVI century gave it to the Franciscans. This peculiar church
has three cupolas, the middle one, higher than the other two,
resting on an octagonal tambour.
outside the town lies the abbey of S. Maria di Colonna. This
church was also founded by the Benedictines, in 1098, and
given to the Franciscans in 1427, to whom it belonged until
1867. The church has a fine portal and three naves, the central
one spanned by crossed vaults. Through the centuries the church
has undergone numerous alterations.