Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
The story of the beautiful cathedral of Trani has its roots in Greece in the year 1070.
It is said that in those places, in Stiri ( southern Greece - current Distomo), was born a young greek, Nicholas, who at age 8 was sent to graze the sheep.
The solitary life and almost hermit it has a vital spirituality: begins to recite incessantly 'Kyrie eleison'.
The mother uses threats and beatings in order to make it wise, but frustrated by its failures delivers it to the monks of a monastery.
The friars, believing it possessed, treat him with fists and shut him up in a tower. But the young miraculously he comes out and turns to the convent reciting his 'Kyrie eleison'.
The monks expelled it.
Some time after a good-looking girl comes to Nicola asking him to follow him in his This girl follows the saint and he recites 'Kyrie eleison' but, Suddenly, she accuses Nicholas of being her seducer and deceiver, adding slander and infamy
Villagers hold Nicholas of insults, but then, feeling remorse of conscience, she confesses the truth: she had freely chosen to follow Nicola.
After many vicissitudes, always accompanied by 'Kyrie eleison', young Nicholas from Lepanto sails to Rome: during the trip the sailors - stressed by his obsessive 'Kyrie eleison' - throw him overboard. He miraculously saved: arrives in Italy and then come to Trani in May 20, 1094 echoing through the city his 'Kyrie eleison'.
Gather immediately around him a large number of children who gives cherries and other fruits.
May 23, Nicola falls ill and is received into the house of a certain Sabino.
In the days of illness he receives the visits of children and the population that is targeted with sweet speeches and words of comfort, in addition to the well known 'Kyrie eleison'.
On June 2, 1094 dies. Large numbers of people coming to visit his body: his body is exposed in the ancient cathedral and happens the firsts alleged miracles.
A few years later, at the initiative of the Archbishop of Trani Byzantium and by popular acclaim, it is canonized.
In 1098 work began on the construction of the basilica dedicated to him who received his mortal remains: San Nicola Pellegrino (not to be confused with Saint Nicholas of Bari Bishop of Myra).
The beautiful Romanesque cathedral by the sea is built using the beautiful white stone, slightly pink: a jewel enhanced by the blue sea behind. Like all the cathedrals also it has the task of setting in stone the stories of the time. But of this decorative work very little remains inside the cathedral.
It happened that he became bishop of Trani Giuseppe Antonio Davanzati (Bari, August 29, 1665 - Trani, February 16, 1755), son of a rich family of Greek origin and Florentine fortunes.
In his youth, they could afford, and accomplishes the 'Grand Tour' in France and Spain and other European countries where maintains relations with the intellectuals of the time (Liebnitz is among his friends) and they learn the horror of all that is the Middle Ages, identified with obscurantism.
The progressive formation and highly innovative spirit of Davanzati clashed almost immediately with the resistance of the local clergy and the same population. And is he who destroyed the capitals and decorative work within the Trani cathedral: its modernist zeal lead to cancellation of medieval history inside the cathedral.
You can see his picture in the diocesan museum, to remind us of the danger posed by the Taliban of any age, culture and religion. Them - perhaps with the best intentions - threaten to what we most precious and irreplaceable: the memory.
It remained only the exterior decorations, part of the floor and the doors. In what remains of the mosaic pavientale you can admire a splendid 'Flight of Alexander' and also a part of a mermaid with two tails. Other bicaudate sirens are on the portal guarded inside the cathedral Let us imagine what we have lost.
On the frieze of the bell tower a written remind us Nicolaus 'sacerdos et magister' which meets in Bitonto.