When You come to Martina Franca you absolutely must see :
- Itria Valley
- Historical center
- 'Festival of Itria Valley'
- Fashion stores (specials !)
- Alberobello, Locorotondo, Putignano, Castellana Grotte (little cities close to Martina)
The best time to visit it is ... 'all the year' ... the summer for the fresh ... (it's different then the rest of the Apulia) and the winter for the snow and the 'Withe Valley'
Taranto is a town of Apulia,the capital of the province. Placed in the North-eastern part of the homonymus Gulf of Mar Jonio, it is divided into a part which is built on the dry land, and another, the oldest one the old town in Taranto, which is placed on a small isle that divides the sea inlet (Mar Grande) from the inner lagoon (Mar Piccolo).During the Greek period the small peninsula was the Acropoli ( fortified town) which was the seat of temples and public offices.The population lived where now is placed the town. Its origins, according to an old legend, dates back to about 1200 years before the foundation of Rome, when Tiras (or Taras) , the son of Nettuno,arrived on the outskirts of the actual town, where now is the mouth ol Tara.Once famous for its wealth and its magnificence in Magna Grecia that renewed the splendid civilization of Athens on the shore of Jonio,the 'Città dei due Mari' is, for the students and the lovers of art and history,a fascination town , in which it is simple to recall the slendour of the ancient metropolis which had about three hundred thousand inhabitants and made immense wealths thanks to the the soil, the brisk market, the famous industries of the golden byssus and the mervellous purple and for its famous filosophical schools.
The history of Taranto is full of wartime events, and the town was invaded and destroyed.The Saracens were ruthless with Taranto, and they turned it into a heap of rubble, on which it rose, where now is the old city, a Byzantine village which, then, was taken by the Normans, the Swebians, the Angevins. Taranto is divided in two different parts: Città Vecchia which is placed on a isle, now in the middle of a recovery through the restorations of many buildings to assign to social-cultural activities.Città Nuova,in the shape of a trapezium whose longest sides are Militare,Mar Grande and Mar Piccolo,with very long streets and complex and modern buildings.
Favorite thing: Remember that it's southern Italy and EVERYTHING is closed in the afternoon (approximately between 1pm and 4pm) when it's hottest. So don't plan to go there in the afternoon to visit some churches and the museum. You will be very dissapointed. Get there in the morning.
After crossing the stone bridge at the Naples gate, we come to the Piazza Fontana, the vestibule of the Old Town Proper. TORRE DELL'OROLOGIO is the only significant monument of Piazza Fontana, after the demolitions of the end of the last century, during which the tower of Raimondello Orsini, the Cittadella and the fountain of the place were destroyed.
Probably it was built on a prior medieval structure, in the half of the eighteenth century.
Then it was added the frontal structure (1799) and the bell cusp (beginning of 1800). The small bell was made in 1756 and the biggest one in 1818.
The decorations of the front (octagonal panels and shells) are typical of the eighteenth century.
The watch which is actually operative,and to which is daily given the rope,was built in the end of the last century by the Neapolitan artisans of the company E.O.Caccialupi.
The additional touches of the bells and the passing of the hours told by the hands of the watch, are the leading wire of this corner of the old town.
The Tower was saved by the municipal administration,thanks to an accurate restoration project,when it ran the risk of collapsing
Fondest memory: Wandering the streets, seeing the history of this old city. Many hand crafted items can be found in this region that you will want to bring back with you. Just explore and be amazed at all that you will find.