Like an elegant lady from another age, Martina Franca demonstrates to its visitors a refined style which is able to conceal, even from the most careful observers, its ancient medieval origins. Arriving from Locorotondo or Cisternino, what strikes you is the forceful contrast between the simplicity of those medieval villages and the sumptuousness of Martina, a unique example of a baroque and rococo city in the Valle d’Itria.
But you cannot appreciate the ‘beautiful lady’ without dedicating enough time to her. To admire the fascinating genteel houses of the nobility and the majestic churches we advise you to walk round the maze of alleyways that lead off from the focal point of the city, Piazza Plebiscito, with its marvelous Minor Basilica of San Martino. Its rococo façade catches the eye of the visitor as it proudly rises up until it seems to touch the blue sky. In the historic centre the elegant architecture of the 1700’s harmoniously coexists with the simple lines of the dwellings built one on top of the other, which belong to an even more remote time. You can lose yourself in these streets to discover its fascinating corners and to let yourself be enchanted by their beauty.
For a pleasant refreshment stop in the city’s most important meeting place, Piazza Maria Immacolata, called the Porticoes, and taste some of our traditional local products like neck of pork, or cured pork meats (recognised by the Slow Food movement) or ‘bocconotto’ a sweet made with custard cream and dark cherries.
Martina Franca is famous for its Valle d’Itria Festival, an event of international renown that attracts artists and lovers of opera who come from all over the world.