Sparkling blue sea, a stunning cathedral, and the laid-back atmosphere Italy does so well. These are some of the many reasons to visit Trani, Puglia’s ‘pearl of the Adriatic’.
The small town of Trani doesn’t appear on standard Italy itineraries.
Located on the coast of Puglia, the heel of the Italian boot, it only attracts tourists who love going off the beaten track and not even many of them, nearby Alberobello and Lecce usually stealing the spotlight.
Trani, however, is a treat and those who do make it here leave with their eyes full of unforgettable images of Mediterranean splendor.
This is our essential guide to Trani, Italy, the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’
Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
What is special about Trani Italy
Trani is a small coastal town in the Italian region of Puglia, in the South-East of Italy.
It has a pleasant marina, a lovely town center and it is made special by a gorgeous Duomo (Trani cathedral) that dates back to 1143 and is one of the best examples of Apulian Romanesque architecture.
Perched on the seashore, the Trani cathedral is made of cream-colored limestone, it has a distinctive bell tower and its simple silhouette stands out against the sparkling blues sea like a summer vision of architectural perfection.
Among these many reasons to visit Trani, the duomo tops my list and makes Trani one of my favorite places to visit in Italy.
Where is Trani and how to get there
Trani is a seaside town in Puglia, the region of Italy forming the heel of the Italian boot.
The nearest big city is Bari which is also the closest airport.
The easiest way to get to Trani is by private car but you can also get there by train or bus.
Trains to Trani depart regularly from Bari, with several options during the week and fewer at the weekend. The journey takes 40 min to an hour, depending on the train. You can get tickets here.
Several buses also connect Bari to Trani and the journey takes about 45 minutes. You can find the timetable and prices here.
Driving in Italy scares many but I found driving around Puglia very easy and convenient. If you are unsure about tackling Italian roads, you can find my best tips for driving in Italy here.
Parking in Trani is pay and display: follow the signs for the duomo and you will easily find several parking options (on-street)
How long for visiting Trani?
Trani is a compact town and you can visit easily taking a day trip from Bari or any other nearby location you may be using as a base.
Top tip: If you are coming to Trani on a day trip from Bari, store your luggage in Bari with LuggageHero and avoid dragging bags around!
What there is to see in Trani?
There are several things to see in Trani and the surrounding area. In town, the main ones are the cathedral, the marina, the city park and the castle.
Cattedrale di Trani (Trani cathedral)
Trani’s jewel in the crown is Trani cathedral for which, you may have noticed, I have a soft spot.
The cathedral is in honor of San Nicola Pellegrino (Nicholas the Pilgrim) and dates back to the 12th century (1143 to be precise).
It is famous for being a great example of Romanesque architecture however, the first and main thing about it is its position.
The cathedral is right on the seafront and occupies the spot where you would usually see a lighthouse, rather than a religious building!
This seafront location is peculiar yet intentional: local knowledge reports that the cathedral was built to be a guiding light for the population of Trani and so the lighthouse reference is an appropriate metaphor for this role.
The cathedral is made of a local stone called ‘Pietra di Trani’ (Trani’s stone) and has a distinctive cream color and texture that create a wonderful chromatic effect beside the deep blue of the Adriatic sea.
If you see nothing else in Trani, come to the cathedral: it is truly unforgettable.
Top tip: the best spot for catching views of the Trani cathedral is the so- called ‘fortino’ – see below how to get there!
Trani has a gorgeous little marina and fishing port sandwiched between the city park and the cathedral.
This sleepy port is lovely: the best way to enjoy it is to take a walk along its seafront, take in the colorful boats bobbing over its calm waters and stop for a drink in one of the many waterside cafes and restaurants.
Il fortino (lit. the small fort’) lies above Trani’s marina and it is the best place for views over the city port and the cathedral.
You access it from the park and it is a place of strong visual impact: made of the same cream stone as the cathedral, you walk along a large walkaway that quickly opens up above the marina and the cathedral at the back.
The walkaway is battered by the sun and this, plus the views you get from here, makes you feel like you are enveloped by Mediterranean splendor to such as extent, you may find yourself in need of minute to process the beauty in front of you!
Trani city park
Trani has a lovely city park worth visiting. It is located just along the seafront and it is a wonderful green space to escapes the sun and catch beautiful views over the Adriatic sea.
The park has nice trees, benches, a lovely playground for kids and some nice sculptures.
Trani castle (Castello Svevo di Trani)
As well as the cathedral Trani flaunts a nice castle, dating back to the 1200s.
Built by order of Frederick the II, like nearby Castel del Monte, it was an important center of power of the Frederician court and then hosted the Angio’ and Aragona families, which makes it a good place to learn about the history of the city.
Palazzo Antonacci Telesio
As we strolled with our nose in the air along the roads at the back of the marina, we came across a gorgeous palace that seemed right out of the Leopard.
A vision of decadent Southern Italian splendor, I discovered that it was an important building called Palazzo Antonacci Telesio and dating back to 1761.
The palazzo now hosts a museum of carriages. which we didn’t visit. The outside is, however, worth a stop – if you follow us on Instagram you may have seen it on your stories already!
How to visit Trani and Trani itinerary
The best way to visit Trani is on foot.
We left the car in front of the park and we were able to easily walk everywhere (even with children in tow).
Trani is a small city and you don’t need an itinerary to visit. However, we did find following a lop park – fortino – marina – cathedral- castle -palazzo worked great.
Where to stay in Trani
Trani makes a lovely overnight stop and while we did not stay, we spotted several cute places right near the marina.
You can find Trani deals on booking.com
Trani Italy Travel Resources
- Omio – Handy website for Train and Bus connections across Europe
- Booking.com – My go-to resource for accommodation (hotels, apartments and specialty lodging) with god deals and excellent cancellation policies
- LuggageHero – Large selection of luggage storage options for bags-free day trips
- GetYourGuide: booking platform for attraction tickets and day tours
- Lonely Planet: my one and only go-to travel guide provider
- AutoEurope: handy comparison website for the best car rental deals
I hope you found this travel guide to Trani, Italy, useful. Safe travels!