The Valle D’Itria is a triangular area between the towns of Martina Franca, Cisternino and Ceglie Messapica. Rising in the north at Cisternino and Martina Franca, it then descends and levels out as it reaches Ceglie Messapica.
‘Valley’ is a slightly inaccurate term, because the Itria Valley doesn’t have the typical formation of mountain area valleys. It’s actually just a depression due to ‘karstic’ phenomena.
Known as an area of outstanding beauty, the Valle D’Itria is packed full of olive and almond groves. It’s also densely populated with trulli, the typical ancient Apulian small round houses of stone with a conical roof.
Most importantly, if you’re a wine-lover, you’ll be happy to hear that Valle D’Itria is full of vineyards producing high quality wine. The best white wine includes Locorotondo DOC and Martina Franca DOC. Local Negroamaro red wine grape tends to make wine very rustic in character, combining perfume with an earthy bitterness. The grape produces some of the best red wines of Puglia – and you can pick up 3 or 5 litre containers for as little as €1.50 per litre at an enoteca.
Littered across the valley off the main roads are hundreds of ‘Contradas’. These are small local roads, which are often very narrow and picturesque with occasional traditional houses.
Both Cisternino and Martina Franca offer simply breath-taking views across the valley. A great reason to stay here is that many holiday villas benefit from these vistas. Each evening you can soak in the amazing sunsets, when the light finally starts to fail and the last rays of sunlight illuminate the rolling grey-green olive trees.
If the Valle D’Itria sounds good, find yourself a luxury villa rental in the area!