Martina Franca; The idyll of Baroque Elegance
Martina Franca is an elegant city of wealth, readily visible from the oldest buildings to the shops of today! My nickname for Martina Franca is the ‘Chicago of Puglia’ – it can be the hottest, stillest, most humid day with temperatures in the 40’s (C) in Puglia, but Martina Franca always seems to have the most refreshing breeze; that will reinvigorate, rejuvenate, liven you up and cool you down! Couple this with stunning Baroque architecture, wide elegant streets, capocollo (salami) to drool over and boutique shops besides, means that Martina Franca is never going to disappoint or bore you.
The centro storico houses the old Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace) built in 1668, which is now the town hall, and is definitely worth a visit inside; especially as you can see the original frescos in some of the older parts of the building. From here, it is just a short walk down the ‘main’ street past gelaterie (home-made ice-cream) bars, boutiques with clothes, shoes and jewellery to Piazza Plebiscito where the Basilica of San Martino is located. In the piazza you will also find the Caroli shop; Caroli Masseria is a local farm where they primarily make their own olive oil, plus pasta and some vegetable condiments and fruit jams. The staff are always friendly, fantastically knowledgeable, and they are always more than willing to do an impromptu olive oil tasting if you ask.
Festivals and Events in Martina Franca
• There is a famous opera festival hosted in Martina Franca every year between the last two weeks of July and the first week of August; Festival della Valle d’Itria – it is usually held in the Palazzo Ducale and includes a selection of lesser-known operas.
• Manufacta is an exposition for artists, crafters, designers and all things creative, unique and local. It always has a fantastic selection of stalls, items and ideas. They now have a permanent shop (lab) as well as their annual showcasing and you can find them on facebook for events andshowcases
The famous capocollo ‘sausage’, although in reality it is definitely a salami, is originally from Martina Franca, and world class. It is made from the highest quality cuts of pork from the neck to shoulder, before being cured. Many capocollo have DOP status and it is part of the Presidio Slow Food. In fact, Martina Franca is famous for its meat products; in particular pork. Here you can find many butchers that also double as simple eateries with wood-ovens where sausages, fresh meat, pancetta – and whatever else takes your fancy is cooked on the spot for you with simple side dishes such as ‘patate nella cenere’ – potatoes cooked in the ashes of the wood ovens.
Baroque balconies and cobbled streets will call you to get lost in wanderings, and where you can never be sure whether around the next corner you will find a church or a modern boutique! The surprises are endless and entrancing.
Villa to rent in Martina Franca
Trullove is a worthy property of Martina Franca: a stunning mix of trulli and lamia for a total 8 bedrooms with a huge infinity pool!