Trani - Encyclopedia

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TRANI, a seaport and episcopal see of Apulia, Italy, on the Adriatic, in the province of Bari, and 26 m. by rail W.N.W. of that town, 23 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1901), 34,688. Trani has lost its old walls and bastions, but the 13th-century Gothic citadel is used as a prison. Some of the streets remain much as they were in the medieval period, and many of the houses display more or less of Norman decoration. The cathedral (dedicated to St Nicholas the Pilgrim, a Greek assassinated at Trani in 1094 and canonized by Urban II.), on a raised open site near the sea, was consecrated, before its completion, in 1143; it is a basilica with three apses, a large crypt and a lofty tower, the latter erected in1230-1239by the architect whose name appears on the ambo in the cathedral of Bitonto, Nicolaus Sacerdos. It has an arch under it, being supported partly on the side wall of the church, and partly on a massive pillar. The arches of the Romanesque portal are beautifully ornamented, in a manner suggestive of Arab influence; the bronze doors, executed by Barisanus of Trani in 1175, rank among the best of their period in southern Italy. The capitals of the pillars in the crypt are fine examples of the Romanesque. The interior of the cathedral has been barbarously modernized, but the crypt is fine. Near the harbour is the Gothic palace of the doges of Venice, which is now used as a seminary. The church of the Ognissanti has a Romanesque relief of the Annunciation over the door. S. Giacomo and S. Francesco also have Romanesque facades and the latter and S. Andrea have "Byzantine" domes. The vicinity of Trani produces an excellent wine (Moscato di Trani); xxvii. 6 a and its figs, oil, almonds and grain are also profitable articles of trade.

Trani is the Turenum of the itineraries. It first became a flourishing place under the Normans and during the crusades, but attained the acme of its prosperity as a seat of trade with the East under the Angevin princes. The harbour, however, has lost its importance.

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