This post is also available in: Italian

We came back to Trani to enjoy the concert by Nicola Piovani and his group in the open air in front of the spectacular cathedral of Saint Nicolas the Pilgrim.

The concert is among a series of Fuori Museo, Eventi d’Estate (Events of Summer) sponsored by Fondazione SECA through its president and founder Natalino Pagano.

After an enthralling evening of musical art and a dinner commenced well after midnight, the following day promised little attention to the travails of creative writing, and it was not till near sunset that we drifted into town and strolled out onto the lookout to admire the last of the sunset over the cathedral.

Trani harbour is a little gem, with its fishing fleet and continuous belt of restaurants wrapping the waters in their arms, and delivering the aroma from their kitchens of the catches by the fishing fleet, moored along the cathedral end of the pier.

Yet it was just one bar we sought, a fond memory from our last visit. As we walked from the lookout, more and more people were arriving on the pier, now closed to traffic. Finding Paolo’s Caffe Nautico bar more by the sounds of Haydn than signage as we neared the narrow entrance, we were warmly greeted by the proprietor and sat at the free table in front of the bar. A moment passed and he reappeared with my Energitismo business card, from our one previous visit.

Paolo recognised instinctively that maybe Haydn is not the ideal accompaniment to a refreshing glass of excellent local rosé and the march from Aida rang through the evening sky as, in my mind, elephants and giraffes, among an avenue of Noah’s creatures, came past along the pier. A little to our right down on the pier, a table was set up near the waterfront and cards were arrayed, I guess for the pleasure of knowing one’s future through Tarot. The seer sat and she waited, with her back to the sea. Aida changed to Tosca, and E Lucevan le Stelle, maybe Placido, or am I mistaken, Carreras?

The first glass of rosé is enjoyed with local olives when Paolo brings out his offering for this evening, a local delight of mussels, potato, cheese and maybe onion and tomato, which may sound a little ordinary in English, but in Italian and blended with artistic and artisanal skill of the chef, cum proprietor, cum sommelier, cum opera aficionado, it is a work of culinary art, ideal for this evening.

Just below to our left a small local police car arrives, with its two blue lights bright. The driver alights, impressing me as a small version of Montalbano, and he walks off towards the restaurants while a younger tall thin policeman is left to watch over the throngs of locals and tourists and to guard the automotive property of the city. He has no holster. A cyclist rides up and they start to chat, while the ‘officer’ stands proudly wearing his hat of office, yet with short sleeves of the summer uniform.

Two brightly attired people, possibly of Senegalese bloodline, are welcomed by the constabulary and another group of the young bloods of Trani bicycle past waving and calling. It is a warm feeling to be in Trani this evening, where the youth and those from all parts and apparently all religions, share peace and goodwill. Gradually the pier fills with sellers and their wares, the couple set up a stall. There are now many strollers, still a few runners, and the nearby restaurants begin to fill.

We are offered some fresh local peaches of an ‘old fashioned’ variety, and they are delicious, picked and offered at perfect maturity. Our host demonstrates his preference for Carreras with a CD dripping with Verdi favourites, but also one for the lovers of Austrian operetta,’ You are My Heart’s Delight’ from ‘Land 0f Smiles’, by Lehar – an apt selection for this evening.

About an hour has elapsed since the arrival of the police and the ‘captain’ returns, maybe from ‘cena’ in Montalbano style, local freshly made pasta and fish. The young policeman removes his cap, puts it on the dashboard, gets in the passenger’s seat, and they disappear from our spot in this universe. More opera to thrill, Donizetti, ‘And down her Cheek a Pearly Tear’, which I share, and then ‘One Fine Day’ for Butterfly . Another sip.

Virtually nobody smokes, but judging by the number of baby carriages and prams, the youth of this town have something better to do with their spare time, and seemingly the babies are happy, no crying, no screaming, just music filling the night air.

Finishing the second rosé we note that warmth is part of the lifestyle of this town. Back in Trani lifestyle is ‘in arT’ of life.

(This article is reproduced under licence from Energitismo Limited)

Gavin Tulloch

Scienziato e poeta. Ama la chimica, il vino, le donne e l’opera, ma non sappiamo in quale ordine


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