The name Trani derives from Tirenum. As legends tell, Tyrrenus, the son of Diomede founded the city. Tirenum was mentioned in the Tabula Peutingeriana, an ancient Roman map of the world. Trani grew more prestigious after the destruction of Canosa by Saraceni. It flourished under the Normandy rule. Under the period of Frederic II, Trani accumulated vast wealth and prosperity followed by a decline in the period of Angioino. Trani was a significant maritime city during the middle ages.
Its glorious past can be witnessed by its churches and noble palaces throughout its historical center. We recommend visiting Palazzo Caccetta, Palazzo Quercia and Palazzo Bianchi.
In the historic center, Trani boasts a spectacular and famous Cathedral dedicated to St. Nicola Pellegrino. This cathedral dominates the view with its strategic position by the sea. It is considered by most as one of the most important examples of Romanesque Pugliese Architecture and one of the most prestigious churches in Italy during the medieval times.
The Svevo Castle was started around 1233 under the rule of Frederick II. It is an important piece of tranese architecture. Its use changed over time. In the last century it was used as a prison. Only after it was renovated in the 1980s did it become the public museum visited by many today.
In the 12th Century, Trani also housed one of the greatest Jewish settlements in Southern Italy. Today you can see the Scoloanova Synagogue which survived the centuries of battles. It has been rededicated as a synagogue from a church in this century after having been abandoned for fifty years prior.
Holy week in Trani is of great importance with its strong traditions and processions bringing together communities of churches in the area. It starts with the exposition of the symbol of the consecrated body of Christ during Holy Thursday. The whole city comes together to witness the preparation of the Sepulcher of the parishes. The Tranese tradition calls for a visit to the Sepulcher around seven times. The ritual continues the morning of Good Friday around 3am with the Procession of Addolorata or in tranesi, they call it “The Madonna of the Night”. With the Procession of the Mystery of Christ, the ritual consists of 15 sacred images to remind its viewers of the miracle of the Eucharist.