Welcome to the charming white town of Martina Franca, located in the heart of the Puglia region in Southern Italy. Although much smaller and less visited than the likes of Alberobello or Lecce, Martina Franca is where you can really get a taste of authentic Puglia. With its narrow white streets, historic Baroque buildings, and delicious cuisine, add this town to your Puglia travel list.
I visited Martina Franca on my 8 day Puglia road trip and visited after a short 15-minute drive from where I stayed in Locorotondo at an amazing farm stay in a trullo.
I’ve written extensively on Puglia so be sure to check out my Puglia section for other posts!
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Martina Franca is known for its unique Baroque architecture, which can be seen in the intricate details of the buildings and churches throughout the town. You can wander through the picturesque streets and alleys, admiring the ornate balconies and decorative facades that give Martina Franca its distinct character. I simply adored doing this when I visited. The white-washed streets were so cute.
In addition to its beautiful architecture, Martina Franca is also renowned for its culinary dishes. The town is famous for its local Puglian food. This includes the delicious “capocollo,” a cured meat made from pork, and the “orecchiette,” a traditional pasta dish that is a staple of Puglian cuisine. You can indulge in these and other local specialties at the town’s many restaurants and cafes.
How to Get Around
The closest airport to Locorotondo is Bari Airport and it is a 1 hour drive away. Public transport is slim in Puglia so it’s recommended to drive especially if you want to explore neighboring towns.
🚗 I picked up my car rental after spending one day in Matera but it might be easy for you to book from Bari Airport too. I found my rental using Discover Cars which is a great aggregator site, that will find you the cheapest rates for a car rental.
Best things to do in Martina Franca, Puglia
1. Explore the Historic Old Town
Martina Franca’s historic old town, also known as the Centro Storico, is a maze of narrow alleys and winding streets, filled with historic buildings, churches, and piazzas. Spend your time leisurely walking through these streets exploring every new corner. The beautiful white pathways are really charming. The town is renowned for its Baroque architecture which you’ll stumble upon everywhere. You’ll find the Basilica di San Martino mentioned below and Palazzo Ducale, both great examples of the architecture in Martina Franca.
2. Visit the Basilica di San Martino
Also in Martina Franca’s historic center is the impressive Basilica di San Martino. I truly admires the intricate details of this stunning building from the outside to the inside.
The church was built in the 18th century and is one of the most important landmarks of the town.
The facade of the Basilica is a work of art, with intricate carvings and details that showcase the Baroque style. After going inside, I was equally impressed. Inside you’ll find a stunning altar and ornate decorations that draw the eye upward toward the domed ceiling.
One of the most notable features of the Basilica di San Martino is the statue of San Martino, the patron saint of the town, which is located on the altar. The statue is adorned with gold and precious stones and is considered one of the finest examples of Baroque art in the region.
The Basilica di San Martino is open to visitors every day of the week from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
2. Visit the Local Markets
Martina Franca is known for its food and wine, and there are several markets where you can sample the local produce. The Mercato Settimanale takes place every Wednesday from 8am to 1pm. There is also the Mercato Coperto which is open daily. Here you can find fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other local specialties.
3. Attend a Music Festival
Martina Franca hosts several music festivals throughout the year, including the Festival della Valle d’Itria in July and August. The festival features opera, chamber music, and other classical music performances.
4. Explore the Countryside
The countryside around Martina Franca is dotted with trulli, the traditional stone huts with conical roofs that are unique to the region. When I took my road trip through Puglia, I loved taking a scenic drive through the countryside, stopping to explore the trulli and vineyards along the way. You can also rent a bike if you fancy!
5. Try Traditional Puglian Food
Martina Franca is famous for its local cuisine, so be sure to try traditional dishes like orecchiette pasta with turnip greens, capocollo ham, and local wines like Primitivo and Negroamaro. There are plenty of restaurants and trattorias throughout the town that serve authentic Puglian cuisine.
Here are some of the best places to eat in Martina Franca, Puglia
- Osteria del Coco Pazzo – This cozy restaurant serves delicious traditional dishes, including the famous bombette, a local specialty made with pork.
- Ristorante Garibaldi– Located in the heart of Martina Franca’s historic center, this restaurant offers a seasonal menu featuring local ingredients and a range of wines from the region.
- Ristorante Dal brigante By Enrico – This rustic trattoria is known for its homemade pasta and generous portions. Be sure to try the orecchiette with turnip greens, a classic Puglian dish.
Where to Stay
I highly suggest staying in a masseria, a farm stay that offers warm and welcoming service. This type of accommodation provides a distinctive experience, and you can find excellent Masseria stays throughout Puglia. Check out my comprehensive guide on where to stay in Puglia to discover some of my favorite ones.
Masseria San Michele in Martina Franca
If you want to stay in Martina Franca, then try Masseria San Michele. Masseria San Michele is a charming farm stay located in the heart of the Puglian countryside, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. The property is housed in a beautifully restored 19th-century farmhouse that retains its original features and traditional architecture.
Agriturismo Masseria Aprile in Locorotondo
I stayed at Agriturismo Masseria Aprile, which was in Locorotondo, only a 15 minute drive from Martina Franca. It is a family-owned farm stay with a long history, was absolutely amazing. The great thing about this place is that it is both a masseria (farm stay) and also has traditional trulli, cone-shaped stone buildings. Stefania and Anna, the hosts of the farm stay, treated me like one of their own. Their kindness and hospitality made my visit truly unforgettable. In fact, they even surprised me with a birthday cake and a song to celebrate my special day. I stayed in the Trullo Superior “Conigliera.”
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🇮🇹 For more travel inspo visit my Italy section!
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