Nestled on the southeastern hills of Murgia, Martina Franca is a baroque city that enjoys splendid views of the Itria Valley, among rows of vines, woods and centuries-old olive trees.
The origins of Martina Franca date back to the 10th century, when a group of Taranto refugees took refuge on the Colle di San Martino [Hill of St Martin] to escape the Saracen devastation. The legal foundation of the city dates back, on the other hand, to 12 August 1310, when the Prince of Taranto, Filippo d'Angiò, favoured its appropriation through the granting of franchises. Hence the adjective "franca", originally placed in front of the name Martina.
Merely entering the ancient village ensures you are immersed in a magical and graceful atmosphere, with its narrow streets, its alleys, the stately buildings and the majestic and monumental churches, in which masterpieces of art are preserved (for this reason, Martina is a "City of Art and Culture"), made so by the painters, sculptors and marble workers of the Neapolitan School of the eighteenth century.
Martina Franca boasts plenty of agri-food excellence, such as wine, oil, dairy products and baked goods, meats and cured meats, made by local artisans who preserve craftsmanship and tradition, a vehicle of flavours, tastes and customs of our community.
Among these productions, some outstanding examples are the Capocollo di Martina Franca, Presidio Slow Food, and the wines based on two native varieties, Verdeca and Bianco d'Alessano, that express our well-known food and wine identity.
For over 40 years, Martina Franca has been the stage of the Festival Della Valle d'Itria, an opera and bel canto festival, which takes place from mid-July to mid-August in the atrium of the Ducal Palace and in different places around the city. Along with the Festival, there are numerous tourist and cultural initiatives that bring the city to life, both in the summer and in the winter, such as the "Biennale delle Memorie", "Martina Angioina", the "Festival del Cabaret", the "Festival dei Sensi" and the "Settimana Bianca" in the Christmas period.