Martina Franca home to the Valle d'Itria Music Festival
Overlooking the Valle d'Itria, the town of Martina Franca is situated 500 metres above sea level, mid way between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, ensuring that there are always fresh breezes even in the in the hight of summer. It is a verdant region with trees and cone shaped houses called "trulli". However the main attraction of the town is definitely the 'centro storico' a typical example of baroque art, with its smart streets, white lanes, elegant mansions and palazzi and its stately and monumental churches.
Until the reunification of Italy in 1861, Martina Franca was a fully walled town, with 24 towers and four gates. Although most of the towers have been demolished during the town's expansion the four Renaissance and Baroque gates still exist, effectively delineating the old town from the more modern 19th century part of town.
The tree-lined expanse of Piazza XX Settembre leads through the Porta di Santo Stefano (one of the four gates) into Piazza Roma, home to the impressive 17th century Palazzo Ducale (now used as the civic offices and also stage for the annual Valle d'Itria Festival). From here it is a short walk through the narrow streets to Piazza Plebiscito, the true heart of the town, the Basilica di San Martino.
Martina Franca is a popular area for visiting tourists, not only for its rich and precious architectural, historical and artistic heritage, but also for its cultural activities that culminate in the famous annual Valle d'Itria Festival.
Market day is on Wednesday mornings.