Coreggia

Puglia, Italy

Walk 7 - Martina Franca & Locorotond walking and hiking route

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Walk Instructions

Martina Franca and Locorotondo are attractive and interesting towns to visit in the Valle d’Itria. Martina Franca is second only to Lecce as an example of Puglian baroque architecture, while Locorotondo’s old town is a well-preserved medieval foundation which is particularly delightful when viewed from across the valley.

Both towns lie on the FSE railway line that runs through Alberobello, on which there are trains roughly every hour (no trains on Sundays). Train times are available at stations or on the internet (www.fseonline.it). This means that there are a number of options for tackling this walk.

We describe a circular walk starting from Martina Franca and walking north along the west side of the valley via the hilltop hamlet of Ritunno, to Locorotondo. We return along a quiet, level country road to the east of the main road and railway. But you could use the train to do one leg of the journey and reduce the walking. We have split the route description into stages so that you can choose a distance to suit yourself. Almost the whole route is on tarmac roads.

Martina Franca dominates the Valle d’Itria with hundreds of trulli farmsteads set in gardens and vineyards. At the start of the walk we tour the baroque town, residence of the duke and the nobility. The walk along the broad valley of Itria leads us along narrow roads to Locorotondo and back again.

The view of Locorotondo from afar is more attractive: on the southern side, which is what we see from this walk, it is unspoilt by modern developments (unlike Martina Franca) so we see the old town rising above cultivated terraces, much as it must have seemed for centuries. So for the one-way walk we also give directions for reversing the second half of our circular, to give a short and easy one-way walk to Locorotondo.

It is possible to park near the station in either town, but as these are hill towns, both stations are about 10 minutes walk downhill from the town centre. We give directions for finding the stations. Both towns are pleasant to wander around; in our directions we describe only the most direct route from Martina Franca station to the start of the walk; other town centre wanderings are not included in our estimate of distance.

Refreshments

There are plenty of bars, restaurants, etc in both towns, but none in between.

CIRCULAR WALK from Martina Franca station to Locorotondo and back.

Stage 1: Martina Franca: from station across the old town (2km)

On leaving the station we turn right into Via della Stazione. At the first junction we turn half left into Via Alessando Fighera. When we reach the main road SS172 we turn left into Corso Italia. We continue along the Corsa until we reach Piazza XX Settembre, which runs from the communal gardens on our right to the impressive baroque gate Arco di Sant’ Antonio to left. (If the traffic on the Corsa is heavy, we can turn right into one of the side streets and take the first turn left to walk parallel to the Corsa and then up through the gardens to reach Chiesa di Sant’ Antonio and the Piazza, 900m from station).

We turn left through the Piazza and under the Arco, into Piazza Roma and the old town. On our right is the Palazzo Ducale, which when restored will host the tourist office, and opposite it is the Palazzo Martuzzi. We continue along the Piazza and take Via Vittorio Emanuele to the left ahead. This road is lined with baroque townhouses, and leads us to Piazza Plebscito, the heart of the old town, which is dominated by the baroque facade of the Basilica di San Martino.

Piazza Plebiscito merges into Piazza Immacolata, which has shady arcades sheltering restaurants and cafes. We turn right along Via Garibaldi, then right into Via Principe Umberto which leads us past Chiesa San Domenico on our left. We continue straight on until ahead of us we see the sign for Via Numa Pompilio. Here we turn right, and leave the old town through Porta di Santa Maria, and emerge on Via Giovanbattista Pergolesi.

Stage 2: Porta di Santa Maria to Locorotondo old town (approx, 7km)

From the Porta Santa Maria we turn left and walk along the road past the belvedere with its view over the valley, to the Chiesa del Carmine (WP54). We walk to the left beside the church, and at a road junction keep skirting round the church to our right. We walk down the Via Carmine, ignoring side streets to the left, and then a couple to the right, through a modern quarter of the town. Across the valley we can already see Locorotondo in the distance. After nearly 1km our road goes under a branch of the railway. 100m later, we go straight ahead across the main road, following the sign to Alberobello (WP55). In 300m we go carefully under a second underpass, under the railway to Locorotondo. After another 200m we turn right into the quieter Via Cupa-Battaglini (WP56) which leads along the centre of the Itria Valley towards Locorotondo. Groups of trulli, surrounded by fig, peach and almond trees, stand among the vineyards. We pass a sewage works on the right in 500m, and continue along the road as grassy tracks lead to left and right.

Abour 1.5km after the sewage works, we come to a T junction with a lighter coloured tarmac road (WP58). We turn right, and shortly afterwards the road turns left, now heading north west. In another 50m we reach a second junction where we go straight on, ignoring the road to the right. We continue along this country road for another 1km, reaching the outskirts of Ritunno, with modern houses that lead us up to the older central square.

This is surrounded by a settlement of particularly ancient trulli, from the time of the first settlement in the middle ages; however, there have been well restored and extended. The central square, to the left of the road, has chairs and tables under some small shady trees, with views back towards Martina Franca.

We continue along the road downhill, and in 200m reach a T junction by a 3-pinnacled trullo (WP60), where we turn right. We follow this road through the countryside. In 500m we ignore the road to the right, as our road bends left uphill. We pass a group of tumbledown trulli to the left, and as we crest a rise Locorotondo comes into view again (WP61). We head downhill to a level crossing (WP62), and go over the railway. We follow our road north each towards the town, but just short of the main road it turns right, and we follow it to the junction, where we turn left and walk back towards the town name-plate, opposite a masseria with 3 gables, covered with stone slabs, and with its own chapel. Currently this is being restored, making the underpass under the main road impracticable.

Beside the masseria (WP63) a broad flight of steps leads up to the Via Nardelli, where we turn left and walk up to the town’s belvedere from which there are extensive views over the Valle d’Itria, said to be one of the most beautiful panoramas in Italy. Across Via Nardelli from the belvedere lies the Chiesa dell Addolorata; to its right the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele leads into the old town, which is compact and easy to explore.

To reach the station from the belvedere, we follow Via Nardelli to the left (north) through Piazza Dante into Corso XX Settembre, then across Piazza Aldo Moro to Via Madonna della Catena and Via Stazione.

Stage 3: Locorotondo belvedere to Martina Franca Porta dio Santa Maria (approx 5km)

From the belvedere, we go down the steps and turn left, uphill, at the bottom. The track leads to a house where it appears to stop (WP65). But we turn right down some overgrown steps. As we descend we can turn back for a good view of the whitewashed houses, which form a kind of defensive wall for the town, crowned with their weathered grey chianche stone roofs, like battlements. Our grassy track descends between the hillside terraces.

After 300m, just past a trullo on the right, we join a road - to our right we see a Total garage which stands on the main road that runs parallel to ours along the valley. Our road gradually diverges from the main road, and is remarkably peaceful. We follow it for over 2km, ignoring a road from the right (WP68) then a road from the left (WP69).

Our road forms a hairpin bend to the right where we cross the railway at a level crossing, and we continue straight on, ignoring a road from the right in 250m, and another from the left. 350m later our road bends sharp left (WP72). Ignoring this, we proceed straight ahead on an overgrown concrete path which leads us up towards a road. From this hillside we can look back for a final view of Locorotondo. Faced by a midget-sized tunnel, we are relieved to discover old steps to our left that lead us up to cross the road, where we continue up to a tunnel under a second road. Our road then zigzags uphill, past the Chiesetta dello Spirito Santo. Shortly after this we turn left into Via Spirito Santo, which leads us back to Via Giovanbattista Pergolese, opposite Porta di Santa Maria.

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Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.

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