You may have never heard of Martina Franca, another charming picturesque town in Puglia, Italy. That’s okay, I had never heard of it either until I went to Puglia last spring (2014). I loved my visit last spring and even more when I returned in fall with another small group (and they loved it, too!).
Martina Franca is an example of why visiting and exploring areas and towns you’ve never heard of can be so rewarding. So, won’t you join me?
First settled in the 10th century, compared to many of the neighboring towns, Martina Franca is rather “young”! Originally more or less an outpost to protect the province of Taranto, in the 13th century it was declared a municipality by Taranto Prince, Philip I.
Entering the historical center via the Piazza XX September and through the stunning Porta di Santo Stefano/Arco di Sant’Antonio, you are greeted by the first of many photo-worthy stops, Piazza Roma.
Surrounded by a splendid collection of civic buildings and palazzos resplendent in the Baroque style found here in the Salento, you are already charmed by Martina Franca!
Continuing your stroll on Via Vittoria Emmanuele, you will frequently encounter the image of St. Martin, for whom the town is named.
In Piazza Plebiscito the Basilica di San Martino is a superb tribute to his saintly deeds. He is said to have saved the town on several occasions and we are certainly glad he did!
This Piazza also opens up into what was once a market and offers sidewalk cafès, local shops and the promise of much more to explore in which ever direction we go.
While the narrow and winding streets once foiled enemies with its dead ends and hidden exits, today they invite us to wander, meander, explore and enjoy the whitewashed houses with their Baroque details and colorful balconies as well as its many historical gems.
What a delightful discovery and way to spend our afternoon in the Itria Valley…
Wouldn’t you love to visit Martina Franca and many other picturesque and captivating towns in Puglia? Maybe do some cooking classes and wine tasting, too? Meet locals and experience the authentic Pugliese lifestyle?
NEW Spring 2017 Dates:
May 26 – June 4