The initial part of the coastal route south from Manfredonia is unremarkable, with flat lands given up to saline extraction. The first town of note down the coast is TRANI, a beautiful stone-built port and fishing village with an unusually cosmopolitan air. One of the most important medieval Italian ports, it was a prosperous trading centre with a large mercantile and Jewish community, and rivalled Bari as a commercial port. A wander through the streets around the harbour gives an impression of the medieval city, not least in the names that echo the town’s mercantile and Jewish origins – Via Sinagoga, Via Doge Vecchia (the port had strong – not always amicable – links with Venice) and Via Cambio (Street of the Moneychangers).

Centrepiece of the town is the cream-coloured, eleventh-century Duomo, right on the sea at the edge of the old town. Dedicated to San Nicola Pellegrino, it consists of no fewer than three churches, stacked on top of each other like an inverted wedding cake – the facade austere but lightened by a pretty rose window. The interior has been restored to its original Norman state, the stark nave displaying a timbered ceiling.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Italy features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The 10 most beautiful places in Italy – as voted by you

The 10 most beautiful places in Italy – as voted by you

Is there anywhere in the world as easy on the eye as Italy? From art-filled cities to heart-stopping coastlines via gorgeous landscapes, you could criss-cross t…

07 Dec 2016 • Natasha Foges camera_alt Gallery
An expert’s guide: where to stay in Venice

An expert’s guide: where to stay in Venice

Venice has been depicted and described so often that on arriving in the city you might have the slightly anticlimactic feeling that everything looks exactly as …

14 Oct 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
7 highlights that make Genoa Italy’s most delicious city

7 highlights that make Genoa Italy’s most delicious city

Genoa is way off most travellers’ itineraries, but it’s time this northern Italian beauty – and its outstanding local cuisine – gets the recognition it …

10 Aug 2016 • Natasha Foges insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month