The coastal town of Trani is one of the well-kept secrets in Puglia. Most guide books like to skip over this town and we simply don’t understand why. It has a charming atmosphere with awesome attractions to see. Join us to discover the top things to do in Trani, Puglia.
Why should you visit Trani? This question might come into your mind before deciding to take a trip to this coastal town. A great reason to visit is the picturesque streets and awesome marina that has one of the most impressive churches in Puglia. You can explore a town that’s a little bit more local than something like Bari where tourism runs rampant. It’s also very close to Bari so it’s easy to include in any itinerary for Puglia.
How to get to Trani, Puglia?
Getting to Trani is incredibly easy. Most people use either Bari, Brindisi, or even Lecce as their base for exploring Puglia. Lucky for you, Trani lies on the same stretch of coastline that all of these towns cover. There is one railroad line connecting them all. This means that even from Lecce you can take a direct train to Trani and enjoy a great day-trip in the town.
Getting to Trani by Train
You will find it easiest to reach Trani by train. The tickets are cheap and you can get a direct train from most of the coastal towns in this part of Puglia. For example, the trip from Bari by train is only around 35 minutes and $5. Even from Lecce, which is quite far from Trani, it’s just $26 for a train ticket.
This means that if you are looking to do include Trani as a day trip on your Puglia travels, then you might even save a day of car rental. You can go in the morning and return in the evening for much cheaper than renting. As always you can head over to ItaliaRail for the full schedule and tickets.
Getting to Trani by Car
You might already have a rental car at hand. In this case, it’s only evident that you should visit Trani by car. Located just north of Bari and on the coast, it’s incredibly easy to reach. No matter where in Puglia you are coming from, you should have no problem reaching the town. The drive from Trani takes around 48 minutes, just a little bit over the train trip time.
Best Things to do in Trani, Puglia
It’s time to take a look at all the awesome things to do in Trani. We think that you can’t go wrong with a day trip into this town. Due to the easy access location, it can fit almost any Puglia itinerary and it’s a great addition.
1. Basilica Cattedrale San Nicola Pellegrino
Without question, the main sight in Trani is the Cathedral of Trani. Located at the coast it’s an impressive sight and one of the most picturesque cathedrals in Puglia. With the sea on one side and the old town on the other, the Romanesque Cathedral stands proud in the middle. A truly magnificent sight to behold.
The Cathedral is also known as the Cathedral of San Nicolás and dates back all the way to the 12th Century. Its clock tower is 60 meters high, going way above the nearby buildings. It’s free to go inside the church every day, so you’ll get a chance to experience this beautiful building both from the inside and outside.
This Cathedral is a great reason to visit Trani just by itself but read on to discover even more awesome things to do in Trani. This town is full of historic buildings to see.
2. Castello di Trani
Another famous attraction in Trani is the local fortress. It’s called Castello di Trani and although this name translates as the ‘Castle of Trani’ have no doubts it is a fortress. You can see the huge bastions and thick walls from the outside.
The fortress was used as a defensive structure on the seafront of Puglia. It was originally built in 1233 by Frederick II of Swabia.
It’s a very well-preserved piece of history. You can visit the fortress and walk around the pathways inside the walls. You will also find a history museum inside the courtyards and rooms of the fortress. It contains local historical finds.
3. Museo della Macchina per Scrivere
In a town chock full of medieval buildings and historical palaces you will also find one of the most interesting museums in Puglia. Of course, when it comes to museums it always comes down to personal preference. What one might find amazing the other mind finds absolutely boring.
Regardless, we can’t skip over the fact that the Museo della Macchina per Scrivere is a highly unique place in Trani and Puglia as well. It’s a museum for typewriters.
From fully mechanical ones to electric typewriters you will get a look into the history of recent times. Although, typewriters seem like ancient relics today, let’s not forget that they were widely used around the world in offices, newspapers, and just about everywhere, before the rise of computers.
Although a small museum it’s great to visit. It also proves as a nice break from old buildings and the charming Italian architecture.
4. Synagogue Museum of Sant’Anna
This synagogue is situated in the center of Trani’s Giudecca di Trani neighborhood. Under the Angevins in the late 13th century, it was converted to a Catholic church dedicated to Saint Anna.
The synagogue church, now a museum, has artifacts dating from the 12th to the 16th centuries AD, as well as informational panels outlining the history of Trani’s Jewish population, which at its height numbered over 200 families.
With only around a 3 euro entrance fee it’s not hard to recommend. You will get a chance to visit an old building and discover the ancient relics inside.
5. Church of Saint Theresa
Baroque church at the port of Trani. It has a special atmosphere being the last building before the water. Built adjacent to Palazzo Caccetta it’s a great addition to the historic center of Trani.
Due to the extensive Baroque styling, it’s a must-see when you visit the city. Of course, you can also go inside and enjoy the interior of the church.
6. Palazzo Delle Arti Beltrani
This old palace has been transformed into a multifunctional culture center in Trani. And what a setting it is for a cultural center! The Beltrani Palazzo is magnificent both from the outside and inside.
You can catch musical performances, theatre shows, exhibitions, and local cultural events at the palace. Definitely check out the event calendar and try to catch something you like. A unique setting with mainly local artists.
7. Chiesa San Giacomo Trani
Around the year 1143, it was constructed in the Romanesque style. An inscription on the main entrance shows that the façade underwent a major renovation in 1647.
On each side of the archivolt, flanked by two columns on elephants carrying a griffin and a lion, the façade has a gateway decorated with greenery and rosary beads.
The crypt included the burial of San Nicola Pellegrino, the city’s patron saint, and various sculptures of the Procession of the Mysteries of Good Friday, held by the Archconfraternity of the SS. Sacrament, until 2016.
8. Villa Comunale di Trani
The city park of Trani. It’s located on the east side of the port. It’s a beautiful park with a great assortment of flowers and plants.
There are even some beautiful bridges and walkways that are perfect for your Instagram photos. Make sure you don’t skip a visit to this place.
One of the best features of the park is found on the west side. It’s called Il Fortino and it provides the best overview of the town and the port of Trani.
9. Porto di Trani
The port of Trani. Full of small fishing boats and private sailboats. The gently rocking boats create an excellent atmosphere. Come here early in the morning and observe the business of the port as fishermen are returning with their catch for the day.
You’ll also find many restaurants and seafood places around the port. They are great to visit and usually have fresh fish available.
10. Monastero di santa Maria di Colonna
If you don’t mind walking or staying for more than just one day, then a visit to Monastero di santa Maria di Colonna is one of the things to do in Trani that you must complete.
The present Romanesque-style church was constructed over the ruins of an older structure, some of whose sculptural features still exist. The perforated rose window overlooks an all-around arch supported by tiny columns on the front. A pure gold altar adorns the interior, which is separated into aisles.
One more reason to visit: it’s located on the elevated Capo Colonna with great views on both sides.
11. Chiesa d’Ognissanti
Also known as the templar church. Although, it’s still heavily debated if the church was ever connected to the templars, the local traditions and stories dictate that it is indeed a templar church.
Built-in romanesque style it’s a simple church with a great history. Make sure you check the interior too where you can see great paintings and wood cravings.
12. Palazzo Covelli
A beautiful baroque palace with the owner’s coat of arms is displayed at the front door. The Davanzati family erected it on All Saints Street in 1753. Exhibitions are being conducted here on a regular basis.
Such exhibitions pose an excellent opportunity to enter the palace and marvel at the beautiful inner courtyards. There are also some rooms for tourists on the top floor.
13. Palazzo Caccetta
One of Trani’s most prominent merchants, Simone Caccetta, erected this palace in 1456. Renaissance architecture enthusiasts believe it to be one of the best examples of the style.
Until 1509, it served as a residence for the Venetian rulers, before being converted into a monastery of the Teresiniani monks and a seminary in the eighteenth century.
At the moment, it serves as one of the Palace of Justice’s “detached” seats.
Let’s not forget where we are. It’s the Puglia coastline with awesome waters. If you visit during the summer and do it for multiple days then don’t miss the beach. The city has some great beaches with even more options if you are open to going a bit further.
With the train being so close you’ll also have access to essentially the whole coastal parts from Bari to Brindisi.
How long to stay in Trani?
We believe that Trani is an excellent place for a day trip. There are tons of things to do in Trani and you will be kept busy throughout the day. However, do consider Trani for a longer stay. There are many places to see in Puglia and the great train connection makes Trani an excellent choice for your base.
Even better, during summer the city comes absolutely alive. From public musical performances to festivals you will have a chance to attend all kinds of events here. If you are looking to indulge yourself in the local culture then Trani is an awesome place to stay.
Where to eat in Trani?
Whether you visit for just a day or a week we are sure that you can use some recommendations on where to eat. Checking off all the items from the things to do in Trani list can be exhausting and it’s nice to take a break at times.
Located close to the port Memento Ristorante is an excellent choice. Most courses are just shy of 20 euros so it’s not the cheapest restaurant around.
In turn, they keep a short and simple menu. This is usually a great indication of good food such as the case of this restaurant. Local classics and seafood items are excellent and tasty.
Where you can get so much more than a burger. We love this place as it’s a street-food style restaurant. This means less waiting and more eating. Burgers are superb but you can get other nice meats here.
This is focused mostly on meat and you should visit if you are a meat lover. Those who are looking to not make a big fuss about eating and want something relatively quick will also find Street Burger to be a good choice.
Pesto di Pistacchio
Last on our list is a special place. After a meat lover’s paradise, we present you with a vegan restaurant. We are so happy Pesto di Pistacchio exists. There aren’t enough quality vegan restaurants around.
Visiting Pesto di Pistacchio is recommended even if you are not vegan. They have great food and it’s always good to try something new. We absolutely love the twist they put on Italian food. Considering how versatile it is, many of the meals only needed a little adjustment to be vegan.
The tartuffe pasta was our favorite item from their menu, but they also have ‘fake meat’ burgers.
Where to stay in Trani?
Let’s take a look at some awesome places to stay in Trani. As we’ve highlighted it’s a great base to explore Puglia even without a car. In light of that let’s explore some nice places where you can stay in Trani.
Located near the city center we can only recommend Locus Pendinelli. They have two rooms decorated very homely. It’s a welcoming place to return to after a day of exploring.
Being close to the port is also great as you will have access to restaurants and bars. You don’t have to walk long distances if you want to take a romantic stroll during the night.
The only downside is noise. As it’s in the city center it’s not the quietest B&B that you can book in Trani.
This 4 room B&B is a little farther from the city center, but still in the historic parts of Trani. You will find the rooms light-colored and inviting. We absolutely love the styling of this small hotel.
A little bit more expensive, but at the same time quieter than our other pick. You’ll still be incredibly close to everything even if you have to walk a few steps more to reach the port.
Final thoughts on things to do in Trani, Puglia
Trani is a magical place to visit in Puglia. It’s especially romantic during the night and we recommend that you include it in your itinerary. Considering how easy it’s to reach it or how easy it is to reach other towns from Trani you might want to consider a longer stay.
It has great narrow streets, amazing buildings, a nice port, and even beaches. Basically, everything is in one place for a great time.