Trani Italy is a hidden gem in Puglia! It is an unusual destination for tourists but one worth knowing – and visiting.
Nicknamed “the Pearl of the Adriatic”, Trani encapsulates everything Puglia offers: wonderful beaches, a history-rich city center, incredibly tasty food, and a vibrant nightlife.
In this guide, I will show you the best things to do in Trani, Puglia, as well as the best spots to eat and party, with the goal of showing you why this town needs to be on your Puglia itinerary.
Trani Italy: Best Things to Do + Why It’s Worthy of Your Puglia Itinerary
Trani Italy is located on the Adriatic coast of Puglia, north of Bari. Since 2004, Trani is the province’s capital along with the cities of Andria and Barletta.
Trani is famous for being a “slow city.” It’s a member of the organization Cittaslow International. This organization was founded in Italy to promote a slower way of life, protecting quality of life through healthier living, sustainability, and culture.
You can see the highlights of Trani in just one day, but if you would like to “take it slow” like the locals, perhaps consider spending a few extra days in this beautiful town!
Trani Italy Map
Trani is a hidden gem along Puglia’s Adriatic coast, in southern Italy. Its location along the coast makes it straightforward to visit nearby places like Bari, Polignano a Mare, and the Gargano Peninsula.
How to Get to Trani Italy
Bari Airport is the closest airport to Trani, about 35 miles away.
Brindisi Airport is the other main airport in Puglia, 1 hour and 45 minutes away by car. From here, the easiest way to get to Trani is definitely by car, which is also the most convenient way to explore Puglia itself.
Once you arrive in Trani, you can park your car and forget about it for as long as you remain in the town. Everything, from the historic center to the Trani beach, is within walking distance.
ProTip: While it is possible to drive from Trani to Lecce in just over 2 hours, I don’t recommend it as a day trip.
Trani and Lecce are among the best places to visit in Puglia. However, when planning your Puglia itinerary, it’s best to plan a “base” near the Trani-Bari-Valle d’Itria area and then position yourself in another “base” further south to explore Puglia’s Salento in towns like Otranto or Gallipoli.
What to See in Trani
According to a legend, the city of Trani was founded by Tirreno, son of Diomedes. The city was later part of the Roman Empire, and with the beginning of Byzantine domination, Trani was transformed into a fortified city.
Interestingly, Trani was the capital of Puglia until the Napoleonic era, when the title was transferred to the city of Bari.
The rich history is visible in the city fabric: the port, the Romanesque Cathedral overlooking the sea, the city center…everything makes this corner of Puglia truly unique and a must-see!
And it’s one of the many reasons to love Italy! When you take the time to explore even just a bit off the beaten path, you discover surprises like Trani and can dig into their storied pasts.
1. Walk the Trani Centro Storico.
The old town and its port are the pulsing heart of Trani and where you should start your Trani visit. Stroll on your own or join a Trani walking tour for some local expertise.
The Centro Storico has narrow streets that intersect with alleys and tiny squares, as is typical of Puglia’s towns. However, Trani’s old town presents an interesting feature.
All the historic buildings are built in Trani’s stone: a light limestone rock extracted around the city, and its cream color shines bright every time the sun’s rays wash over it.
The Centro Storico is a treasure chest of noble palaces and historic churches. Be sure to get some gelato and enjoy it in the Palm tree fringed Piazza Teatro, one of the most beautiful squares in the center.
2. Visit Trani’s Jewish Quarter
In the Centro Storico, there is also the Jewish Quarter of Trani, located along the walls of the city. Through the Porta Antica (Ancient Door), you reach Via la Giudea, the heart of this area.
The district had 4 synagogues. Unfortunately, only 2 of them have survived.
Take time to visit Sinagoga Scolanova. It was built in the 13th century and remained so until the 16th century when the Jews were driven out of the city, and the Synagogue became a Christian Church. Scolanova Synagogue returned to being a synagogue only in 2005.
The other synagogue is the Sinagoga di Sant’Anna (also known as the Great Synagogue) which also dates back to the 13th century. Today, it houses the Jewish museum that explains the history of Trani’s Jewish families through exhibitions and artifacts.
3. Discover the Chiesa d’Ognissanti.
Just near the Jewish Quarter, in the oldest part of the city, this Middle Ages church was likely built in the 1100s.
It’s believed the Knights Templar built this church in the courtyard of their hospital. There’s some debate as to the church’s place in history, however, it’s thought the Knights were blessed in this church before setting off on crusades to the Holy Land.
Either way, this Romanesque gem is not-to-be-missed! It’s an important building that, with its simple beauty, has preserved medieval history for nearly 1000 years and just one of the many discoveries to make as you explore Trani’s historic center.
4. Don’t Miss the Trani Cathedral.
The Trani Cathedral or Cattedrale di Trani is a remarkable example of Romanesque architecture, built in the typical Trani cream-colored stone and with a beautiful rose window. The impressive bell tower also has a one-of-a-kind arch below it and inside there are sections of mosaic floor that trace back to an even earlier church that stood here, named Santa Maria della Scala
The Cathedral was largely built during the mid-1100s to honor a pilgrim from Greece who came to Trani and died there. In fact, the Cathedral’s formal name is the Cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino. He was given sainthood and became known as Saint Nicholas the Pilgrim. His remains are in one of the Cathedral’s crypts.
The Cathedral’s location is also amazing!
If you’re coming from the old town, the Cathedral of Trani suddenly appears in the marina and is surrounded by the deep blue of the Adriatic Sea.
Trani Cathedral and its bell tower are open to visitors. Groups of more than 7 people must make a timed-entry reservation with the Cathedral.
5. Go Back in Time at the Castle of Trani. (Castello Svevo di Trani)
Turning your back to the Cathedral, you now face the Swabian Castle in Piazza Manfredi, built by Frederick II of Swabia in the mid-1200s. The location of the Castello Svevo di Trani is stunning: the fortified building overlooks the sea.
The castle has gone through several changes and restorations over the years. However, you can visit the large halls and courtyards of the Castello di Trani to discover its history and architecture.
If you’re in Trani at sunset, the views of the castle along the water with the dusky sky are spectacular.
ProTip: If you’re basing yourself in Trani or only spend part of the day here, consider a visit to Castel del Monte. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was also built in the mid-1200s by Frederick II. It has an Octagon shape which makes it one of the most unique castles built during this time.
6. Be Wowed at the Beautiful Trani Port. (Porto di Trani)
As with many towns and cities in Puglia, the seaport was the ancient economic center. Located next to the promontory of the Cathedral, Trani’s location by the sea means that even today much of daily life takes place in and around the marina.
Even more so than places like Monopoli, the port of Trani has maintained itself as a vibrant, active place.
Trani and the beauty of its port cannot be overstated!
It’s a beautiful place for a walk and an excellent spot to eat, have a glass of local wine, Moscato di Trani, and watch the sunset. If you’re like me, sitting here, you’ll feel as if you’ve discovered your own small slice of Puglia away from super-touristy towns like Alberobello.
In the summer evenings, the Trani marina area becomes one of the hot spots for nightlife, thanks to the many clubs and bars.
7. Stroll the Beautiful Villa Comunale.
South of the port and near the Piazza Plebiscito is the Villa Comunale with the ancient Fortino Sant’Antonio. Villa Comunale is a public park and seaside promenade.
Probably built in the 12th century for defensive purposes, from the Villa, you can admire the entire dock and the Cattedrale di San Nicola Pellegrino. The Villa Comunale is truly one of the most gorgeous viewpoints of Trani!
From the Villa public gardens, you can access two small beaches to enjoy the beautiful Adriatic Sea right in the heart of Trani.
8. Enjoy the Blue Sea at Trani Beaches.
Lido Bella Venezia is accessible from Villa Comunale. It’s a small beach with an incredible view: it overlooks the pier and the Cathedral. You can rent or reserve a lounge chair with waiter service. There’s also an upscale restaurant to enjoy drinks and a meal right next to the sea.
Located in the northern outskirts of Trani, just 5 minutes by car from the Trani Cathedral, there is Cala Mariposa. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, as well as order food. The beach is also ideal for enjoying an aperitif at sunset.
South of the Trani marina and Baia del Gruccione, you will reach Seconda Spiaggia. It’s just 15 minutes by car. You can also walk along the water. It’s a long golden beach washed by the crystal clear sea, where you can stop and enjoy the Apulian sun.
9. Mangia in Trani! (It’s a Foodie’s Heaven.)
Not only cultural sightseeing and beaches: Trani is one of Puglia’s best destinations for foodies and party lovers!
Food is a central component of this city’s tradition: simple and genuine, Trani’s cuisine and ancient recipes reflect the history of Puglia. While at the same time, local chefs incorporate elements of the Mediterranean cuisine, for which much of Italy is famous.
The traditional dishes you must try are the Orecchiette Pugliesi with broccoli rabe, riso patate e cozze (rice with potatoes and mussels), and the Baked ziti in the Tranese style. And of course, focaccia is a must at every meal!
At Osteria La Banchina you can experience the traditional cuisine. This tavern serves excellent fish and pasta dishes, and it is located near the port. A great spot for a lunch break!
For dinner, you can try out Le Lampare al Fortino. It is an elegant restaurant located inside the old fort of Trani. The fantastic food and the amazing location will make your dinner unforgettable!
10. Take in the Fun of Trani’s Nightlife!
Not only food: Trani is the place to visit if you like partying and dancing until the sun rises again!
The nightlife is mainly concentrated in the port area in summer, which has something for everyone: breweries and pubs, cocktail bars with music, and discos with international Dj sets.
With its waterfront view, Portulaca is one of the symbols of the Trani’s nightlife. A restaurant and a cocktail bar, it is one of the favorite places where locals like to meet. The place has a large outdoor space and organizes evenings with DJs, as well as events with live music.
If you’re looking for a vibrant after-dinner, the famous Il Vecchio e il Mare is the place to be. Located in the dock area, near the Fortino, the venue has a large outdoor terrace for dancing all night long.
Trani Italy Hotels
After spending your day exploring Trani, stealing some beach time, and – maybe – a part of your night dancing and having fun, you will need a great place to rest and recharge. Not to worry, there a plenty of great Trani hotels to choose from.
Palazzo Filisio is located in the Centro Storico right in front of the Cathedral. Recently renewed, this gorgeous palace was built in the seventeenth century, and today it accommodates 14 rooms and a restaurant.
Hotel San Paolo al Convento is situated right next to the characteristic port. The venue is spectacular. It was an ancient monastery of the Barnabite Fathers now renovated and converted into a hotel. The structure has 33 rooms and is truly unique.
Trani is an unscheduled stop in Puglia for most but one of the best kinds of unplanned surprises! It’s well worth visiting!
In only 1 day, you can get an idea of the city’s beauty. In fact, Trani is so gorgeous that you’ll undoubtedly want to stay longer.
If you’re planning a trip to the Italian region of Puglia, I highly suggest including Trani in your itinerary to experience everything this magnificent town has to offer!
So, what are your questions about visiting Trani, Italy, a still undiscovered Apulian gem?
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