If you walk along the perimeter of the town, following the line of the old city walls, you will see that a few of the defensive towers built into those walls are still standing. An example of this is the Torre delle Seti, or the Tower of Silk, which dates from the fourteenth century. The tower takes its name from the fact that the area used to be rich in pomegranate trees, and “seta” means pomegranate, in the local dialect. The tower was later transformed into a residence, hence the mailbox and the doorbell that are visible on the exterior.
The Chiesa del Carmine dates from 1727. It sits directly across the street from the Torre delle Seti. In the oval-shaped frame, over the portal, there is a clay effigy of the Madonna del Carmine. In the four niches, on the facade, there are statues of Saint Albert of Trapani, Saint Peter Thomas, Saint Theresa of Avila, and Saint John of the Cross.
The Ospedaletto dates from 1783, as the date on the scroll over the door states. The building was erected to house the poor of the city, and was later turned into an orphanage, complete with a wheel on which unwanted children were placed, and which, when turned, carried the children into the orphanage, without the people leaving them facing any sort of questioning. The wheel was to the left of the doorway, but has since been lost.
Dating from the eighteenth century, the Palazzo Ancona is a wonderful example of Baroque architecture. Two caryatids representing the Queen of the Roman Gods, Juno, support the balcony. The locals believe the building to be haunted, and to this day, the top floor of the structure is locked, and no one sets foot in there.
The Chiesa di San Vito dei Greci is one of the oldest churches in the city, as it dates from the fourteenth century, and the founding of the city by Philip of Anjou.
A plaque, on the facade of Palazzo Marinosci, pays tribute to Martino Marinosci, after whom the palazzo is named. Martino was an important physician and botanist, and lived in the palazzo until his death, in 1844.
Another of the towers that lined the city walls is the Torre di San Nicola, or the Torre di San Francesco, as it is also known.
Next up: More of Martina Franca, including a visit to the lovely Piazza Maria Immacolata!
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translation that may appear. If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from Martina Franca, as well as other Italian destinations. Grazie!