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Itria Valley

The Valle d'Itria Area

What more is there to see in Puglia other than white washed towns and miles of sandy beaches? That's possibly the question on your mind. The fact is, there is so much more to see in Puglia. You probably have never heard of one it's most popular attractions... Valle d'Itria.

If you long to visit a place with trulli(the unique conical constructions found in the southern Murgia area of the peninsula), gently rolling countryside, olive oil, white wine, close proximity to the beaches of the Adriatic and the Ionian seas and half a dozen picuresque towns, including: Locorotondo, Martina Franca, Cisternino, Ostuni, Ceglie Messapica and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alberobello, all at once, then Valle d'Itria is the place for you to go.

History



The name Valle d'Itria (Itria Valley, in English) is probably derived from Basilian Fathers oriental cult of the Madonna Odegitria (that is the Virgin Mary who shows the way), the patron saint of wayfarers, which founded using a natural shelter right in Itria Valley - a monastry where a fresco painting portraying the Madonna Odegitria was found. Over the ruins of this medieval place of worship, located in Martina Franca, the Capuchin Monastery was built in 1545. This is also a very interesting tourist attraction.

Features



Valle d'Itria is not a typical valley but rather a Karstic depression that runs between Locorotondo, Cisternino and Martina Franca. This geological phenomenon has also created the wonderfully beautiful caves of Castellana Grotta, which run for about 3km under the north-eastern edge of the Valle d'Itria.

Other features of Valle d'Itria include:


  • Trulli: the ancient Apulian small round houses of stone with a conical roof. They were built for temporary housing and the oldest of them goes as far back as the 16th century. The only other place in Europe with Trulli is Rhineland, Germany;
  • A large amount of olives from which they derive olive oil;
  • Vineyards from which they obtain superior quality white wine, such as Locorotondo DOC and Martina Franca DOC.

Tourist Attractions



Alberobello



Alberobello is probably the most famous town in the Itria Valle. This fame is as a result of its famous trulli houses. The conical rooftops alongside the charming cobblestone alleys and whitewashed houses are a simply magical sight that inspire wonder in a visitor. The old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a maze of streets and steps lined by trulli; drystone dwellings that were built using prehistoric techniques.

Martina Franca



Martina Franca is the largest town in the Itria Valley. It's roots can be traced back to the 10th century AD. Being in the centre of the valley, Martina Franca is a great base for tourists who wish to explore the area. It boasts beautiful baroque architecture (like the Palazzo Ducale and the impressive Basilica di San Martino) and quaint streets.

Locorotondo



Locorotondo means ’round place'. It is a town in a circular form atop a hill. The hilltop position means that you can see the town from miles around and once you’re up there, you will have access to stunning views of the Itria Valley.

While you are at it, don't forget to stop by the Grotes of Castellana. You shouldn't miss seeing this wonder of nature. Valle d'itria is blessed with many attractions and it will be a nice place to spend a vacation.
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