Puglia Evo World – Tutta la Puglia dell’Olio in un click 

P.D.O. Tarantine lands. Among baroque villages, woods, and gorges

Searching for the hidden gems of the D.O.P. Tarantine Lands extra virgin olive oil territory, from Martina Franca to the Ionian Sea.

An enchanting journey through some hidden gems of Puglia, in the D.O.P. Tarantine Lands extra virgin olive oil territory, proceeding from the trulli district southward, towards the Ionian Sea, amidst landscapes dotted with rural dwellings, expanses of vineyards, and oak forests.

We begin our journey from the last hills of the Trulli region, immersing ourselves in the timeless elegance of Martina Franca. This Baroque city welcomes you with its cobblestone streets, elaborate arches, and refined palaces that narrate the splendor achieved by the village during the 18th century, under the duchy of the Caracciolo. Walk along via Principe Umberto, where you’ll find the Motolese and Grassi palaces, with their elaborate balconies and decorative corbels. On Corso Vittorio Emanuele, enclosed by Baroque facades, you’ll encounter the soaring facade of San Martino, one of the most important examples of 18th-century religious architecture in Puglia. The magnificent Ducal Palace, now the Town Hall, will transport you back in time with its frescoed halls and sumptuous furnishings. Heading south from Martina Franca, take a break in the Bosco delle Pianelle, part of the Southeastern Murge Natural Reserve, where you might come across numerous specimens of wild orchids.

Crossing the rich wooded area south of Martina Franca, we reach Massafra, captivating us with its karstic landscape dominated by numerous rock settlements once occupied by Basilian monks. Don’t miss the complex of Santa Marina, the Igumen’s house, and the Sanctuary of Madonna della Scala, offering a unique view of the hundreds of caves carved into the side of the gorge. Leaving the city, cross the plain cultivated with citrus groves and olive trees of D.O.P. Tarantine Lands extra virgin olive oil, dominated by the settlement of Massafra. Our journey then continues towards Crispiano, at the center of the “Cento Masserie” territory. Crossing lush countryside, you’ll encounter magnificent farmhouses built between the 15th and 19th centuries, with frescoed churches, watchtowers, 18th-century sheepfolds, courtyards, and underground oil mills. Continuing our itinerary, make a stop in Statte to admire the Triglio aqueduct, built by the Romans between the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D.

In the workshops of the old city, olive oil was produced.

In Puglia, and also in the Taranto area, beneath numerous houses, there are still small oil mills and wine cellars destined for family consumption, a testament to a Mediterranean passion and culture passed down through generations.

But let’s take a leap back about a thousand years and delve into the island of the old city of Taranto. The central Via Cava has preserved in its underground hypogea ancient workshops, among which stands out an interesting underground oil mill owned by the Municipality of Taranto. “It is probably placed chronologically in the Norman period following the discovery of a notarial deed (dated 1084) referring to the presence of an oil press in this part of the city.” According to the information from “Taranto, Capital of the Sea,” “the discovery of this important document not only attests to the production of oil (both edible and lamp oil) within the urban fabric of ancient Taranto but also makes Via Cava one of the oldest underground oil mills in Puglia. The space, a remarkable example of negative architecture and construction, still preserves in situ some millstones used for the first pressing of olives and several tanks for the decantation of the product.”aaa