Martina Franca is a town and comune in the province of Taranto, Apulia (Puglia), Italy. It is the second most populated city of the province after Taranto. Since 1975, the town has hosted the annual summer opera festival, the Festival della Valle d'Itria.The town has a particularly beautiful "old city" surrounded by stone walls with prominent Baroque gates leading to piazzas and narrow, winding streets. Piazza di Roma is the largest open space in the old city, with a greenspace in the center of a largely triangular grass pattern, facing the 17th century Palazzo Ducale.Jewish presenceJews in Martina Franca In 1495 one third of the population of Martina was made of practising Jews or Jews converted to Christianity. The escape involved one third of the population: 150 to 200 families (at least one thousand people). Among the privileges granted the city council of Martina in 1495, King Frederick of Aragon forbade Jews and Crypto-Jews and Neofiti to press charges against those who robbed them (probably during the riots of 1494–1495 during the French invasion of the Kingdom of Naples) and prohibited their coming to live in that city. Also in 1495, the Jews Martina Franca were massacred.At the 2001 census the comune had a population of 48,756 inhabitants and a land area of 295.49 square kilometres (114.09 sq mi). It is one of the larger comunes in the geographical area, ranking 39th out of 8,101.Martina Franca DOCThe commune of Martina Franca produces a white Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) Italian wine that can be made in a still or sparkling Spumante style. The wine has a tendency not to age well, often turning from a light white color to a darker amber color and losing its fresh fruit flavors after only 3 to 4 years in the bottle. All grapes destined for DOC wine production needing to be harvested to a yield no greater than 13 tonnes/ha. The wine is made predominantly (50-65%) from Verdeca and Bianco d'Alessano which can make between 45-40% of the blend. Additional grapes are permitted up to a maximum of 5% including Bombino bianco, Fiano and Malvasia Toscana. The finished wine must attain a minimum alcohol level of 11% in order to be labelled with the Martina Franca DOC designation.SportsThe football team in the town is called A.S. Martina Franca 1947 and they are currently placed in Lega Pro Seconda Divisione/B.CultureThe opera Festival della Valle d'Itria is held annually in July/August. It presents a variety of rather unusual operas.PeopleGiuseppe Aprile (1732-1813), Italian composer and castrato born and died in Martina Franca.Pietro Carbotti, VenerableDomenico Carella (1721-1813), Italian painter died in Martina Franca.Donato Carrisi (1973), writer born in Martina Franca.Gioconda De Vito (1907-1994), Italian violinist born in Martina Franca.Paolo Grassi (Milan, 1919 - London, 1981), a family of Martina Franca, founder of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano and director of the Teatro alla Scala.Cosimo Damiano Lanza (Leporano, 1962), pianist, harpsichordist and composer. Director of the Accademia Musicale Mediterranea in Martina Franca.Renzo Rubino (Taranto 1988), Singer-Songwriter, raised by parents of Martina Martina Franca.Richard Sinclair (Canterbury, 1948), English progressive rock musician, who lives in the countryside of Martina.Rodolfo Valentino (Castellaneta, 1895 - New York, 1936), actor father Martinese.ReferencesSourcesC. Colafemmina, Gli ebrei a Taranto (2005)N. Ferorelli, Gli Ebrei nell’Italia meridionale, dall’età romana al secolo XVIIIExternal linksWebsite of the Festival della Valle d'ItriaOfficial website (Italian)ViviMartina.it - first community of Martina Franca on the webPhotography and discussions from Martina FrancaMartina Franca - Masseriapozzotrepile.comJewish Virtual Library.