Southern Italy’s top performing-arts festival, the annual Festival della Valle d’Itria (t080 480 5100, wfestivaldellavalleditria.it), takes place in Martina Franca from mid July to early August. On a par with the Maggio Musicale in Florence, the festival is mainly operatic, with performances – often of rarely performed works – in the appropriately grand Palazzo Ducale, as well as classical concerts and film screenings. It’s a congenial and unpretentious event, though tickets aren’t cheap; they’re available from the festival office in the Palazzo Ducale.

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