One of the city’s most important buildings, the Cathedral has a façade that seems Pisan in look and features a rose window decorated with zoomorphic figures. A double-ramped staircase leads up to the bronze portal, created by the sculptor Barisano da Trani in 1180, while a bell tower overlooks everything, dominating the building.
Inside, a series of paired columns divides the interior into two aisles and a nave. The sober decor creates an air of great spirituality in the upper church, from where you can enter the first crypt, the Church of Santa Maria, which retains portions of its original mosaic floor.
A staircase leads to the second crypt, dedicated to San Nicola Pellegrino (Saint Nicholas the Pilgrim), where the saint’s remains are conserved. On the lower level is the hypogeum of San Leucio, which extends beneath sea level.
Legend has it that Saint Nicholas the Pilgrim, who originally came from the Greek monastery of San Luca in Focide, landed in Trani after he had travelled through Greece and Dalmatia. Utterly exhausted, the young pilgrim died in Trani aged only 18. He was subsequently proclaimed a Saint by the archbishop of Byzantium, in recognition of a number of miracles that occurred after his death. After his canonization, it was decided, in 1099, to construct a church in his honour over the ruins of the Church of Santa Maria della Scala.
The Cathedral, built out of the local calcareous tufa stone, is a splendid example of Puglia’s Romanesque architecture. It’s also unique in its kind, in that it's a double church with a magnificent crypt where the remains of Saint Nicholas the Pilgrim are kept. The upper church, completed in the 13th century, is set out to a three-naves basilica plan, with semicircular apses, whose slender proportions recall northern architecture. The use of lancet arches below the bell tower is unusual in architectural terms, but lends the building a much lighter appearance.
Piazza Duomo 76125 Trani +390883500293 Go the the website
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