The town of the Romanesque Cathedral
CASTEL DEL MONTE
The Castle of Frederick II – UNESCO World Heritage Site
Tour by bus. Distance: 138 + 36 Km
TRANI, Turenum of the ancient Roman, was later occupied by the Lombards and the Byzantines. First certain news of an urban settlement in Trani, however, trace back only to the 9th century and its most flourishing age was the 11th century.
Emperor Frederick II built a massive castle in Trani. Under his rule, in the early 13th century, the city reached its highest point of richness and prosperity.
The main monument of Trani is the Cathedral, famous over Italy, which was consecrated before its completion, in 1143. It is a basilica with three apses, built in the characteristic white local limestone. It has also a large crypt and a lofty tower, the latter erected in 1230-1239.
CASTEL DEL MONTE, named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, is a fortress with an octagonal prism and octagonal bastion at each corner. Each wall has 8 rooms and an eight-sided courtyard occupies its centre. The octagon is thought to be an intermediate symbol between a square (representing the earth) and a circle (representing the sky). Frederick II may have been inspired to build to this shape by either the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, which he had seen whilst on Crusade, or by the Palace Chapel of Aachen Cathedral. It was completed in 1249 and was used primarily as a hunting lodge by Frederick until his death in 1250. It was later turned into a prison, used as a refuge during a plague, and finally fell into disrepair. It originally had marble walls and columns, but all were stripped by vandals.