Itria Valley is an area located in Puglia; it spreads in different provinces and is overlooked by the towns of Martina Franca, Locorotondo, Cisternino and Ceglie Messapica. The valley probably takes the name from the Madonna Odegitria (The Virgin Mary that shows the way), because a fresco portraying the Virgin was found in Martina Franca.
The area is interesting for various artistic, cultural and natural sites. Let’s discover together ten thing you may want to visit in Itria Valley:
- Trulli: the typical ancient small houses made of stone with a conical roof (we spoke about Trulli also here)
- Vineyards that produce high quality wine, such as the Locorotondo DOC and the Martina Franca DOC. In this area we find varieties of wine like Greco, Malvasia Bianca, Verdeca, Bianco di Alessano and Fiano.
- The Castellana Caves, an important geological site famous allover the world, located 60 meters underground and with a history of 90 million years. Read more about the Castellana Caves here.
- Altamura, with its precious archaeological remains as proof of a remote past. These are the skeleton of Altamura Man, who lived 200 to 300 thousand years ago, and the world’s greatest concentration of dinosaur tracks in the Pontrelli quarry from at least five distinct species of carnivores and herbivores, who lived in the area 80 million years ago. Altamura’s traditional bread is known for its excellent quality, and was the first bakery product in Europe to obtain Dop certification.
- Putignano, the town famous for the oldest and longest Carnival in Italy. The first was dated in 1394. The name of the city has also been given to an asteroid (7665 Putignano) of the solar system.
- San Vito Dei Normanni. Famous for the presence of a US military base from the ’60s to the early 2000, was the living centre for all the militaries and their family. It is the centre of the so called “Salentoshire”, because of the presence of holidays houses chosen by people who want to enjoy the mild temperatures of the area during the year.
- Cisternino:Heading further south from Locorotondo and only 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Alberobello is the town of Cisternino. Its origin dates back to the time of Greek settlers but the town was likely destroyed in 216 BC by Hannibal during his raids of Apulia.
- Ostuni: Also known as the “Città Bianca” (The White city), it is a beautiful town that reminds the visitor of Greece, thanks to the small alleys and the white-washed houses one after another.
- Masserie: this farm houses are the peculiar buildings in the land of Itria Valley. Born as working places, they have been often changed in housing buildings, restaurants and didactic farms, where the old manners of the rural culture relive and are rediscovered by new generations.
- The sea! Itria Valley is located between two seas, the Adriatic and the Ionian, different for the beach shape but equally beautiful both in summer for swimming and in the other seasons for the landscapes that offers. It’s your choice!