Martina Franca, where Baroque style meets whitewashed beauty
Despite our numerous holidays in Apulia, we never crossed paths with Martina Franca even though we drove past it a fair share of times. Locorotondo and Alberobello are fairly close as well, that are definitely worth the visit if you are in the region for longer. As you enter the old quarter of the town the ‘jewel’ of it, the picturesque white winding alleys lead you to the stunning Piazza Plebiscito that showcases The Basilica di San Martino that is a grand 18th century church. As we stopped for an espresso, I was taken back by the undenying charm the town had to offer. The limestone façade and baroque curls and the incredibly photogenic details kept my eyes on the constant go. The draping vine leaves and romantic geranium lined iron balconies cover the grand rococo style buildings give Martina Franca that unique characteristic.
Lavish archways and buildings are compressed together forming the oldest part of town called Lama. Here the narrow lanes guide you through its whitewashed simplicity and many of the palaces have been restored to their former beauty, while others have gracefully become shabby with age. Shades of light pink and blues surprise you around the corner and instantly you are drawn in by the whimsical ornate decorative light stone buildings. We arrived just at siesta time when much of the town was quiet and took advantage of getting lost in the calm streets. Next time, it would be great to have lunch here as many of the restaurants looked super cute. However, we did stop at the cutest ice cream shop in the centre of the old town that with all honesty has been one of the best ice-creams I’ve tasted in a while. It was a beautiful light blush colour made from fresh ginger and lemon and had a real kick to it. Not only did the gelato match my purse and blazer, it also blended perfectly with many of the cute doors we strolled by.
Martina Franca is built on a hill in the green Valle d’Itria that is the trulli area of Puglia and makes a fabulous day trip if you are getting lost in the region!