The talk about the Festival in Martina began in the early months of 1975. From Grassi’s intuition, as we saw in the previous article dedicated to the birth of the festival’s vision idea, the Artistic Center “Valle d’Itria” was born, founded and chaired by Alessandro Caroli along with nineteen members. 

The theme of the Martina Franca Festival has always been, as in Grassi’s vision outlined in the previous article, the unedited, that is, works never staged for years due to various reasons. Works to rediscover, to valorize, to redeem.


At the same time, a stone’s throw from Martina Franca, between Locorotondo and Alberobello, the Festival dei Trulli was born. A phenomenon, that of the birth of these musical events in the Valle d’Itria, in the Murgia and particularly in Martina Franca, which can be inserted into the process of “decentralization of culture” that takes place outside the lyric theaters and metropolises, initiated by Spoleto and other realities: Barga, Città di Castello, Stresa, Taormina. 

But not only that: the organizers’ intention is to shine a light on the progressive depopulation taking place in the countryside of the Valle d’Itria. It is estimated that there were about six thousand abandoned trulli at that time. A theme, that of urbanization, for which a solution of art and beauty is proposed: theater, visual arts, and, above all, concerts.



A seed to be planted in the ground and to flourish over time. Because in the seventies, opera theater in Italy was going through a profound crisis, both systemic and in terms of resources. Needless to say, fantasizing about an opera music festival, moreover in the South, is a total gamble. 

Well, after half a century of history, we can afford to say that the Festival della Valle d’Itria has been a winning bet that continues to live and evolve with the times.