11 Gen A city of art and culture
Martina Franca, the balcony overlooking Valle d’Itria, stands on the highest point of Murge, at 431 m above sea level and at equal distance both from the Ionian and the Adriatic sea.
The first settlements date back to the 10th century, but the Foundation Act occurred in 1310, thanks to the Prince of Taranto Filippo d’Angiò.
Perfect symbiosis of various civilizations, the ancient town shows memories of the past in every corner, where its history, but also its art and folklore bloom, being handed down to us with love and safeguard spirit.
Its lanes, alleys, staircases, small windows recall a far away past reality, but at the same time, they underline an up to date feature for their perfect state of conservation and the liveliness of the whole ancient town.
Going past the 17th gate of Santo Stefano, you can immediately see the Palazzo Ducale: the power symbol of the Caracciolo family. It dates back to the 2nd half of the 17th century, inspired by the culture of Lecce, designed by Bernini and showing the mastery of local craftsmen.
Three of its 365 rooms: The Room of Arcadia, of Myth and of the Bible were frescoed (1771-1794) by the painter Domenico Carella from Francavilla on behalf of Francesco III, who had sophisticated tastes with a flair for ambitions and triumphs.
Besides showing Carella’s love for scenery, for unusual perspectives, and for the evenly spread light, the frescoes show great historical relevance as they point out to the viewer images of a period with unparalleled wealth and lively culture.