Tourist Attraction in Trani: Monastero di Santa Maria di Colonna
The monastery was entrusted to the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity of Cava de Tirreni, which remained there until 1427. The monks were tormented by continuous attacks by Saracen pirates, who repeatedly destroyed the walls of the monastery. Also because of the threat of raids, the Benedictines abandoned it and the observing Franciscans took over, as enshrined in a bull by Pope Martin V. Among the numerous pirate raids, undoubtedly the most famous is that of May 3, 1480, when a wooden Crucifix was stolen by pirates: once the nose of Christ was mutilated, it began to bleed and was thrown into the sea. The event is commemorated every May 3 with a procession of fishing boats that take from the monastery to the quay of the port with the Crucifix on board to give way to the solemn procession of the patron. The Franciscans remained there until 1867, protected by the dukes Carafa of Andria, who permanently occupied part of their convent in the eighteenth century, making use of it as a residence at sea (in the land registry of the time it was described as a mess of delights). Because of the confiscation of ecclesiastical property by the Napoleonic authorities, the ownership of the complex passed to the Commune in 1801. The complex was initially used as a hospital for the cholera patients; later it became the headquarters of the military barracks and, after World War II, also used as a summer camp for children. The current church, of Romanesque style, was built on a previous building of which there are sculptural elements. On the façade there is a perforated rosette facing a round arch supported by columns. The interior is divided into aisles and houses a pure gold altar, a gift from Archduke Cosimo III de 'Medici in exchange for the remains of St. Stephen the Pope, who here were venerated. On April 25, 1991, the church received a bronze portal, by the sculptor Angelo Canevari, from Rome, offered by Lions Clubs. The claustral part of the complex has undergone several alterations, preserving only some of the original characteristic elements. The cloister of the monastery, property of the municipality of Trani, has hosted cultural events in recent years, such as art exhibitions and conferences. Several excavations carried out in the peninsula that houses the Monastery in recent years have brought to light several finds belonging to the civilization of the Iapigi, widespread in southern Italy during the early Iron Age (IX-VIII century BC). also two graves of particular interest: the burials are made of graves with walls covered with limestone slabs.In the first tomb were buried together three individuals, two in the supine position and the third compressed in the upper half of the burial, partly overlapped the first two On each body was placed a boulder, placed at the time of burial along with the ground to fill the pit.The same characteristics were also found in the second burial, where was found only one body, placed in a prone position with the lower limbs strongly contracted The burial ritual is unique in the Italian area, to differ of the Greek world where these particular rituals were widespread and reserved for individuals unwelcome from the community, in order to prevent their possible return to the world of the living. The ritual has been associated with the phenomenon of vampirism, that is the presence of diseases that had symptoms like blood, such as tuberculosis and porphyria, unknown and disconcerting for the time.