A complete Puglia food tour, would not be complete without a visit to Martina Franca, the largest town in the Itria Valley.
The town’s jewel is its lovely historic centre, a memorable maze of winding alleys, where whitewashed simplicity sits side by side with baroque extravagance.
The town is built on a hill in the green Valle d’Itria, the Trulli area of Puglia, and it makes a good half day trip if you are exploring the region.
Martina Franca is an incredibly photogenic town: the narrow lanes are illuminated by whitewashed walls, pale stone and tiny open spaces.
The town is also famous for its food specialities!
The best sausages come from Martina Franca and among these the most famous is certainly the capocollo that part of the pig’s neck and chest.
The flavour is tender, fragrant and with an acid-back aromatic feel, well supported by the quality of the meat. During your visit in the aristocratic and baroque town of Martina Franca, you will find traditional butchers and barbecuing butchers!
You can choose your meat and take a seat outside with a jug of local wine. The butcher will then barbecue your meats and bring them out to you when ready! This is a truly local (and delicious) eating experience!
In the afternoon, continue your Puglia food tour, visiting Alberobello that will crown your day with its timeless, fairytale beauty. The town is Itria Valley’s premier location to see Trulli, the cone-shaped houses distinctive to Apulia.
Nowhere else in the world will you find such a unique town of charming, narrow streets where the inhabitants live in “Trulli” small conical-roofed houses initially built without the use of mortar and with only dry stones piled one on top of the other and crowned with limestone roofs, which artfully supply pinnacles of magical significance.
Take a stroll through Rione Monti, famous for its Trulli and artisan shops arriving at the Trullo-designed church of Saint Anthony (Sant’Antonio).
From here, stroll back down, approaching the less-touristic Rione Aia Piccola: the silence of its alleyways and Trulli will instill in you that authentic atmosphere that once was Alberobello.
You should then visit “La Casa d’Amore”, one of the town’s first houses, “Il Museo del Territorio”, with its beautiful collection of artisan/farming tools, the neoclassical church of “San Cosma e Damiano”, and finally, the two-floor “Trullo Sovrano”, considered the tallest and most majestic Trullo in Alberobello.
After passing Piazza del Popolo, invaded by swallows in typical festive spirit, stop for sunset at the Belvedere to experience the classic view of all of Alberobello’s Trulli and get ready for a memorable photo.
For a quiet spot to watch the sunset over Alberobello, we recommend Casedda a Cummersa. Walk through the family-run shop (housed in a Trullo, naturally), then order a glass of wine, beer or Aperol Spritz.
You’ll be in on the roof looking over the village with only a few tables and chairs decorated with fairylights and flowers, but if you want a tourist-free place to enjoy a cold glass of wine while the sun goes down, this is it.
For dinner, we recommend the romantic “L’ Aratro”, a renowned slow food restaurant inside a Trullo where you will find the colours, tastes and scents of Apulian cuisine.
Did you know? Many of the Trullo roofs are crudely painted with whitewashed symbols, most of which relate to Christianity – such as the somewhat brutal image of Mary’s pierced heart.
The more opaque letters (S, C, S and D) relate to the saints, although no one concretely knows which. Others have astrological or Pagan roots, like the evil eye, for example.
Mysterious and with a fairytale-like allure, the roofs of the Trulli could well be a metaphor for the town of Alberobello itself.