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Troia - Cattedrale dell'Assunta
Lower Facade and Main Door Upper Facade and Rosone
Apse and side doors of the Cattedrale Inside the Cattedrale



Troia had it's medieval years in the sun in the late 1000s and 1100s.  Because of its position to the north of Apulia, and under the guidance of savvy bishops, it became an important bridge between the Norman rulers who had taken over Puglia from the Byzantines and the Pope.  The town hosted four Church Councils presided over by the Pope (1093 (Urban II), 1115 (Pascal II), 1120 (Callixtus II), 1127 (Honorius II)).  Shortly after the last of these, in 1129, Frederick II moved in and did a lot of damage, though apparently the Cattedrale, built between 1106 and 1120 in the glory years, escaped major destruction.


Troia's Cattedrale dell'Assunta is another of the masterpieces of Puglian Romanesque architecture.  It was built in basilica form with marble columns recycled from the ancient town, and harmoniously incorporated both Byzantine and Arab design features.  Unlike Trani Cattedrale, much of whose internal artefacts such as the capitals topping the unique double columns, were monstered during the craze for baroquing, Troia's nave has survived largely unscathed, although the chapels in each end of the transept were rebuilt in baroque style after severe earthquake damage.  


The unusual and magnificent Islamic style marble screens in the rose window (22 of them, called transennae) can be dated to the period 1160 - 80.  The facade (which faces north west and does not get much winter sun) has just emerged from under the scaffolding of a major restoration.  It is packed with a muddle of medieval detail which the Dom has tried to capture on the following pages. 


Lower Facade and Bronze Door Upper Facade, Rosone and Romanesque archivolt players
Interior Apse, and Side Doors

Down the road is the even older little church of San Basilio Magno, also recently restored.

Helping out in the a tourist information office with empty brochure shelves (October 2006) - Orante di Nicola, who says his family goes back to Roman times.

Around the Duomo


1st November is Ognissanti - a public holiday in Italy, when families remember their forebears and living relatives, flower seller markets expand around cemeteries like this one in Troia, and everyone takes the opportunity of the holiday to go out for a good intergenerational lunch full of family stories.  Or would you prefer to live in the "trick or treat" UK culture, where it is now reportedly not uncommon to have abuse and eggs thrown at your house if you do not respond to demands for treats at Haloween ?



Troia is a refreshingly real and friendly small Italian "tufa town" (more correctly "bracingly" - it's apparently one of the colder windier places around).   Not much in the way of modern shop fronts generally - the two newsagents we visited looking for a guide to the Cattedrale were both cluttered and dark, but both yielded a part solution and ten minutes of fun and informative Italian conversation!  Likewise the tourist Information centre was ill equipped with printed material, but overflowing with friendliness and a desire to help.  On the main drag were several "neat" old palazzos with the occasional glimpse of an internal courtyard.  Some of the houses near the main drag had boxes of fruit or vegetables for sale on their doorsteps - the one above right had an interesting promotional concept.




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