Martina Franca: Thank You St. Martin!

February 20, 2015 / Places
Martina Franca, Puglia

The Itria Valley of Puglia holds many treasures worth exploring, not the least of which is the town of Martina Franca.

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, we 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, we are already charmed by Martina Franca!

Martina Franca - V. DeMaio
Martina Franca - V. DeMaio

Continuing your stroll on Via Vittorio Emanuele, 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!

Martina Franca - V. DeMaio
Martina Franca - V. DeMaio

This Piazza also opens up into what was once a market and offers sidewalk cafes, 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 extravagant Baroque details and colorful balconies as well as its many historical gems.

Martina Franca - V. DeMaio
Martina Franca - V. DeMaio
Martina Franca - V. DeMaio

There is one thing I can guarantee about Martina Franca…make that two things: you will wish you had more time here and you will want to return!

Martina Franca - V. DeMaio
Martina Franca - V. DeMaio
Martina Franca - V. DeMaio
IMG_1032_2Martina Franca - V. DeMaio
Martina Franca - V. DeMaio
Martina Franca - V. DeMaio

Martina Franca - V. DeMaio

Victoria De Maio

by Victoria De Maio

Victoria is a lover of all things Italian! A travel advisor, blogger, writer, tour leader, and published author, she is passionate about traveling to and writing about Italy.

Her book, Victoria’s Travel Tipz Italian Style, is available on Amazon.

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8 Responses to “Martina Franca: Thank You St. Martin!”

  1. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    visualizzare per il mondo la rara bellezza d’Italia e di aprire gli occhi dei credenti
    grazie Vittoria

    Reply
  2. Maria Daddario Giacchini

    My dad came to America at an early age from Chiete, Abruzzi and we always celebrated November 11 as the feast of the patron saint, Saint Martin. We looked forward to this special day as my grandmother would prepare a “white” pizza prepared only with oil, salt and pepper with silver coins dispersed throughout the dough. Obviously, if you were fortunate to have a piece of this pizza with a coin, you would always have good fortune. I would like to know if others are familiar with this custom and how it originated. Comments will be appreciated, especially from Victoria. (My mother and granddaughter also share the name which I feel is the most beautiful feminine name ever.)

    Reply
    • Giuseppe Spano
      Giuseppe Spano

      Maria Maria part of my family is Dadario in Philadelphia also from Abruzzi they as many regions make the. Pi,,a of fortune. In Puglia it is not a custom. But wonderful to eat

      Reply
  3. Such beauty. I visited this town a few years ago. I enjoyed the story about the coins I. The pizza for good fortune. Ciao for now!
    Pat

    Reply
  4. Lina Falcone

    This is just a beautiful to visit next time I go back. Grazie Victoria.

    Reply
  5. Victoria De Maio

    Grazie to all of you for taking the time to read and comment!
    Maria, I have not heard of that custom but I’m returning to Puglia in May (and another visit to Martina Franca so I will ask for you. I do agree with Pat, a lovely custom regardless of the origin :D.
    I look forward to sharing more stories with all of you…
    Victoria

    Reply

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