Trani, Province of Barletta Andria Trani, Puglia

trani coatofarms Trani is a seaport on the Adriatic Sea, 40 km northwest of Bari. It is a town of great history, since it was one of the main southern ports on the Adriatic throughout the Middle Ages, and is also rich of works of art. The coat of arms of the town, dating back to 1098, has at top the motto "fortis, ferox, fertilis" and below a samnite shield with a blue background, showing a dragon at top crushing a bull under its claws, over a tower symbolizing the town, the shield being enclosed by two branches, an olive to the left and oaktree to the right.


  • Altitude: 7 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 50,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 70059
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0883

The Territory

The surrounding territory produces an excellent wine, the Moscato of Trani; other important products are figs, olive oil, almonds and grain. Trani is today also a fine tourist center.


With the name of Turenum the town appears for the first time in the Tabula Peutingeriana, a 13th century copy of an ancient Roman itinerary, though the earliest traces of settlements go back to the 9th century. The city was later occupied by the Lombards and the Byzantines.

The most flourshing age of Trani was the 11th century, when it became a bishop seat in lieu of Canosa, destroyed by the Saracens, and its port developed greatly thanks to its favourable starting position for the Crusades, becoming the most important on the Adriatic Sea. In the year 1000 Trani issued the Ordinamenta Maris, which are considered today the most ancient maritime codex of Middle Ages. At the time many prominent families from the other Italian Maritime Republics (Amalfi, Pisa and Venice) established themselves in Trani, and Trani maintained a consul in Venice and other consulates in many northern Europe centres, which shows its trading and political importance in the Middle Ages.

Emperor Frederick II built a massive castle in Trani. Under his rule, in the early 13th century, the city reached its highest point of richness and prosperity. By the 12th century, Trani housed the largest Jewish community of Southern Italy. Trani entered a crisis under the Anjou and Aragonese rule (14th-16th centuries), as its Jewish component was persecuted. Under the House of Bourbon Trani recovered a certain splendour, thanks to the generally improved condition of Southern Italy economy and the construction of several magnificent buildings. Trani was province capital until the Napoleonic age, when Joachim Murat deprived it of this status in favour of Bari. In 1799 the French troops made a massacre of Trani's population.


  • Celebrations for the Holy Week: on the night between the Thursday and Good Friday a statue of the Sorrowful Virgin is carried in procession from the church of Santa Teresa, in commemoration of a miracle during a Turkich attack, when the pirates put a rope around the neck of the statue which started to bleed, frightening the invaders who fled away.
  • On the afternoon of Holy Saturday the procession called "dei Misteri" starts from the Cathedral, with the participation of all brotherhoods; this event also commemorates another miracle: in the 11th century a Jewish woman pretended to take communion, then came back home and not believing in the presence of Christ's flesh in the host put it in a pan, but the host started to bleed - the lady's house was made into a chapel, the Cappella del Santissimo Salvatore, where the holy relic is preserved.
  • Celebrations for the "Crocifisso di Colonna" in commemoration of a miracle of 1480, when the Saracens attacked the port and damaged the nose of the crucifix, which started bleeding. On 3 May from the Santa Maria di Colonna, a church on a small peninsula outside the town, the crucifix is carried on a fishing boat escorted by other vessels and accompanied by the sound of sirens to the port, where the procession contunues of land, with celebrations and fireworks.
  • In May, an Antique Exhibition in the Monastero di Colonna, with hundreds of antique dealers from all over Italy.
  • Madonna del Carmine, 16 July, festivity in honor of the patron of mariners and fishermen
  • Celebrations for San Nicola Pellegrino, an 18-year old martyr killed in Trani on 2 June 1094. During 4 days between the end of July and early August. The festivity include fireworks, fairs and markets throughout the streets of the town.

What to see

  • The Ghetto area, which remains much as it was in the medieval period.
  • The Gothic Palace of the Doges of Venice, near the harbor, which is now used as a seminary.
  • The church of Ognissanti which at one stage was the chapel of a Knights Templar hospital has a Romanesque relief of the Annunciation over the door.
  • The Cathedral of St. Nicholas the Pilgrim, a Greek assassinated at Trani in 1094 and canonized by Urban II. It lies on a raised open site near the sea, and was consecrated in 1143. It is a basilica with three apses, built in the characteristic white local limestone. It has also a large crypt and a lofty tower, the latter erected in 1230-1239 by architect Nicolaus Sacerdos. The arches of the Romanesque portal are beautifully ornamented in the Arab influence; the bronze doors, executed by Barisanus of Trani in 1175, rank among the best of their period in Southern Italy. The interior of the cathedral has been widely modernized, but the crypt remains similar to the origins.

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