The Adriatic seaside town of Trani, in Puglia

Trani, Puglia, ItalyOn a drive from Rome to Bari to catch a ferry, my family and I managed to make good time (never a given on Italian highways during the holiday periods), so we decided to stop off to explore the Adriatic seaside town of Trani.

This charming port city, with its long history, is well worth a visit when you’re in Puglia.

Trani first emerged as an important trading post during the Crusades, and later reached the height of its power under the rule of Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century, when the town’s imposing castle was built.

Today, it’s a lovely place to spend a few hours, a day or a relaxing weekend. The port itself is charming, with its picturesque fishing boats, beautiful, imposing palazzi, with their ornate carving and cool courtyards, and tempting tables of port side restaurants where you can sample the freshly caught seafood accompanied by one of the many excellent, local wines.

2015_April_Trani2Most visitors to Trani come to see its spectacular Romanesque cathedral, initiated in 1099 and completed 1143.  The imposing bell tower was added in the 13th century.

The cathedral is built of local, white limestone, which, like other buildings in this region, changes dramatically in the changing light of day.

The cathedral is built just along the sea and, in the hot summer months, some of the windows are open and visitors can enjoy the sea breezes and the sound of the waves from the lovely interior. As in much of the architecture of Apulia, an Arab/Moorish influence can be observed in much of  the ornamental elements, particularly on the cathedral’s portal.

Trani makes a nice stop for anyone headed to the ferries departing from Bari or an easy trip for those arriving at the Bari airport. Enjoy your time in Trani.

For other Puglia tips, see my earlier posts on the seaside town of Vieste, Gargano’s best beaches, visiting the Tremiti Islands, medieval Vico del Gargano, and, if you’re headed further south, the ‘beautiful city’ of Gallipoli.

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