This unassuming seaside town on the coast of Puglia was a major maritime power in the Middle Ages, and home to one of the largest Jewish communities in southern Italy. Today a relaxed port city, Trani is dotted with vestiges of its former glory, including the romanesque cathedral, Scolanova Synagogue, and medieval fort.
Travelers often come to Trani on day trips and shore excursions to escape the bustle of nearby Bari and explore one of the Puglia region’s most fascinating historic centers, dating back to at least the 9th century. Stroll through the old town to visit the medieval churches and synagogue, stop for fresh fish washed down with local Moscato di Trani wine at excellent local trattorie, and explore the restored waterfront fortress, now a civic museum and performance space.
Things to know before you go
- Trani is ideal for families who need a break from the chaotic port city of Bari.
- You’ll spend most of your time in Trani walking outdoors, so wear a hat and sunscreen.
- The town center is level and well-paved, but many of the historic churches and the synagogue are not accessible to wheelchair users.
- Visitors must wear modest clothing covering shoulders and knees to enter the town’s cathedral and synagogue.
How to get there
Trani is located along the Adriatic coastline 25 miles north of Bari and can be reached by train or car.
When to get there
Temperatures soar in Puglia in the summer, and local businesses and sights close during the hottest hours of the afternoon. Visit Trani in the early morning or late afternoon to find the town lively and attractions open.
Trani’s Medieval Highlights
Most of Trani’s most beloved sights date from the 11th century and onward. Don’t miss the 12th-century Cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino, dedicated to St. Nicholas the Pilgrim, a Greek saint whose remains lie in the crypt. The 13th-century Scolanova Synagogue was rededicated in 2006 after centuries of use as a Catholic church. Other notable attractions include the fortress, the Palace of the Doges of Venice, and the romanesque churches of Ognissanti, San Giacomo, and San Francesco.