The History

Between the East and the West Based on archaeological findings it is possible that the ancient port city of Trani had prehistoric origins, although most concrete evidences date back only to later periods, like that of the Romans. After the Roman period the city belonged to the Byzantine Empire, achieving a certain degree of prestige as a meeting point between the East and the West. Of great importance was, for example, its harbour, starting and return point of several crusades. A cathedral on the sea for San Nicola Pellegrino In 1042 also the Normans arrived in Trani, and they besieged it: they were amazed by not being welcomed by the Tranesi and years later, to subdue them, they were forced to build a castle. It was during this period, corresponding to the first crusade, in 1099, that the city began working on the construction of the cathedral in honour of the Patron Saint San Nicola Pellegrino, a young Greek en route to Rome who died in Trani after several days of illness and was canonized right after to great acclaim. Ordinamenta Maris In 1063 on the orders of Peter of Trani, count of the city at that time, the Ordinamenta Maris were drawn up, which are still considered among the oldest seafaring codes. In this code are enclosed all the norms that regulated sailing, from the emoluments of the sailors to the finds at sea, a sort of Union contract that is the basis of Italian maritime law. The world in Trani Some families originating in the Maritime Republics came to settle in the city, which became an internationally known place. On the other hand, the importance of Trani is evident by the presence of a Venetian consul since the 12th century and of other “representative offices” like England, Holland, and several towns north of the Alps, whose offices were located in the blocks in front of the Cathedral. The plans of the Swabian It is no coincidence, then, that Frederick II looked at this city with great attention: a very active port, with thriving agriculture, a lively and rich Jewish community, all this could help Trani to become a source of money to fund the ongoing wars of the Swabian. The impatience of the Tranesi Although highly productive, Trani’s population continued to show signs of impatience towards the German House, which is why the Emperor built a castle to keep the situation under control. Because of its strategic importance, the city enjoyed administrative privileges. After Venice, Trani Frederick II died in 1255 and his son Manfredi tamed the Tranesi siding with the Pope, who made an army of 800 knights pounce on Trani. The town, retaken by Frederick’s favourite, was by then become one of the major ports of the Adriatic. The Jewish settlement contributed to Trani’s prosperity, by boosting trade and studies, being the oldest of southern Italy at that time. In addition to the rich and thriving Jewish colony, also the Florentine merchants settled there, claiming that Trani was the most prosperous port in the Adriatic after Venice. Chieftown for 200 years The city went through a period of crisis (15th century-16th century) under the domination of the Angevins and the Aragonese, worsened by the subsequent expulsion of the Jews, who had always been a powerful economic group within its society. However, the city almost simultaneously began to take on a prestigious role in the legal field. It was in 1586 that the Sacred Royal Hearing was officially placed in the Swabian Castle and Trani officially became “chief town of the Land of Bari”, record that it held for over 200 years. Trani Cittàslow Since then the city became the residence of many illustrious names, lawyers, civil servants and judges, all of whom settled there enriching it with art treasures, precious libraries and sumptuous palaces. Trani is today a municipality member of the Cittàslow international organization, founded in Italy in favour of a slowdown of the modern and frantic dynamics and promoting a better quality of life.