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Trani and Barletta

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(TRANEN, et Barolen.)

Diocese in Italy. The city of Trani is situated on the Adriatic in a fertile plain, producing cereals, wine, and oil, which are exported in great quantities. For a long time, however, the port has lost the importance it had in the time of the Norman and Angevins who fortified it. The fishing industry is extensive. The cathedral, in Byzantine style, was built by Canon Nicola di Trani in 1143; its bronze gates by Barisano date from that period. Outside the city, on a peninsula, stand the old Benedictine Abbey of S. Maria de Colonna, containing a mineral spring, the "acqua di Cristo". Trani is built on the site of the ancient Turenum. It grew in importance under the Byzantines and was taken several times by the dukes of Benevento. In 840 and 1009 it fell into the hands of the Saracens. In the tenth and eleventh centuries it was a republic recognizing the nominal sovereignty of Byzantium. The "Ordinamenta et consuetudo maris", published in 1063 by the consuls of Trani is, after the "Tavole di Amalfi", the oldest maritime commercial code of the Middle Ages. Trani resisted the Norman invaders energetically, but in 1073 it had to open its gates to Pierre d'Hauteville, who assumed the title of Count of Trani. In the twelfth century, in league with Bari, Troia, and Melfi, it attempted to regain its ancient freedom; and in the battle of Bigano (1137) defeated Roger of Sicily, but two years later it had to capitulate. Frederick II constructed a fortress there and made it one of the royal residences. In the Neapolitan wars Trani became a place of the greatest importance, especially during the struggle between the Aragonese and the Angevins. From 1497 to 1509 it was held by Venice. Charles V established a school of jurisprudence there. In 1647 the populace rebelled against the nobles; in 1799 the people opposed the republic, and the city in consequence was sacked by the revolutionaries and the French. The legend of St. Magnus relates that there was at Trani about the middle of the third century a bishop, Redemptus, who was succeeded by St. Magnus. The first bishop whose date is known with certainty is Eusebius who was present at the dedication of the Basilica of Monte Gargano in 493. A few other names have been preserved like Suthinius (761) and Rodostanus (983). Till then Trani had certainly followed the Latin Rite and Bishop Bernardo opposed the decree of the Partiarch Polyeuctus (968) introducing the Greek Rite; it is uncertain whether Joannes, who embraced the schism of Michael Caerularius and in consequence was deposed by Nicholas II (1059), belonged to the Greek Rite. His successor was Delius, and thenceforward Trani continued in the Latin Rite. In 1098 St. Nicholas Pellegrino, a Byzantine bishop, died there; under another Byzantine the new cathedral was dedicated to that saint. Grammaro was imprisoned in Germany by Henary VI for supporting King William; Bartolommeo Brancacci (1328) distinguished himself on several embassies and was chancellor of the Kingdom of Naples. Mention may be made likewise of Cardinal Latino Orsini (1438), Cosimo Migliorati (1479), Giovanni Castelar (1493), Giambernardo Scotti, a Theatine (1555), who introduced the Tridentine reform, Cesare Lambertini, the canonist (1503); Diego Alvarez, O. P. (1607), the famous adversary of Molina; Tommaso de Sarria, O. P. (1656), who enlarged the seminary; Giuseppe Antonio Davanzati (1717), who abolished many abuses. With the See of Trani is united the ancient Diocese of Salpe (Salapia of the Greeks), its known bishops comprising Palladius (465) and 23 successors before the definitive union in 1547. Anoather united see is that of Carnia, which had bishops before the time of St. Gregory, who entrusted it to the care of the Bishop of Reggio; in 649 it had a new ordinary, but later the city fell into decay. The Archbishop of Trani has also the title of Bishop of Nazareth, because when Palestine was lost in 1190 the title of that see was transferred to Barletta (the ancient Barduli), a seaport on the Adriatic, a little south of Trani, to which diocese it then belonged. At Nazareth between 1100 and 1190 there were eight Latin bishops; the names of the bishops resident at Barletta before 1265 are unknown. We may mention the following Bishops: Blessed Agostino Favorini (1431), General of the Augustinians, a learned writer, and Maffeo Barberini (1604), later Urban VIII. In 1455 the Diocese of Cannae, a city celebrated as the scene of Hannibal's victory (216 B.C.), was united with that of Nazareth. It was destroyed in 1083 by Robert Guiscard, with the exception of the cathedral and the episcopal residence. At Cannae St. Liberalis suffered martydom. It had bishops in ths sixth century, for St. Gregory entrusted the see to the care of the bishop of Siponto; its bishops are again mentioned after the tenth century. In 1534 Cannae was separated from Nazareth and united to Monteverde, but in 1552 the united dioceses were incorporated with Nazareth. In 1860 the See of Nazareth (Barletta) was united with Trani, the archbishop of which had been appointed in 1818 perpetual administrator of the ancient See of Bisceglie, the scene of the glorious martydom of Saints Pantelemon and Sergius, whose bodies repose in the cathedral. Tha names of fifty bishops of Bisceglie are known. Trani has been an archdiocese since the twelfth century. The united dioceses contain 19 parishes; 98,000 inhabitants; 110 priests; 1 house of religious (men); 15 convents of nuns; 2 schools for girls.


CAPPELLETTI, Le chiese d'Italia, XXI, 47; VANIA, Cenno storico della citta di Trani (Barletta, 1870).

About this page

APA citation. Benigni, U. (1912). Trani and Barletta. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Benigni, Umberto. "Trani and Barletta." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Dorothy Haley. In honor of God the Father.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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