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Martina Franca, Province of Taranto, Puglia, Italy

The town rises on the hill of San Martino, the highest in the Southern Murge hills, between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The centre has beautiful palaces, built since late 17th century in the Baroque style, and winding, narrow medieval alleys, which suddenly open onto the countryside, a landscape interspersed of white "trulli" constructions.

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Altitude: 431 m a.s.l -- Population: about 50,000 inhabitants -- Zip/postal code: 74015 -- Phone Area Code: 080 -- Patron Saint: San Martino celebrated on 11 November, St. Comasia in early July -- Frazioni & Località: Capitolo, Cappuccini, Carpari, Chiancaro, Galante, Gemma, Lamia Vecchia, Ortolini, Pergolo, Pianelle, Raschia Zappa, San Paolo, Sisto, Specchia Tarantina, Trasconi Chianconi -- Official Website: http://www.comune.martina-franca.ta.it/

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Province of Taranto

History

Martina Franca was founded in the 10th century AD by refugees from Taranto, escaping from Saracen raids. In 1300 Filippo I Anjou, prince of Taranto, gave the feudal rights on the town to Pietro del Tocco, and granted rights and franchise to anyone who would settle in the new town, from which the name "Franca" was derived, Martina coming from the patron saint after whom the hill and church of San Martino were dedicated. In the 15th century Apulia came under the Aragonese and Martina Franca became a fiefdom of the Caracciolo family from Naples who built the Palace Ducale.