Martano is a Salento City
of Art, in the province of Lecce. It is part of the Greek
Salentina: a geographical area where they speak Griko, a dialect
with Greek origins.
The origins of its name derives from the Roman centurion,
Martius Pegaseus, who was given some land from the Republic
(267 BC) for valour shown during the war against the Greek
colonies of Taranto., allied at the time to the Messapian
centres in Puglia.
This theory has however been argued by the Philosopher, Luigi
Pisanò, who attributes the origins of its name to a
local humanist and poet who assumed the name of Martius.
With the end of the Roman Empire (476), Martano passed first
under Ostrogoth Reign (496-535) and then after the Greek-Gothic
War (535-553), became a stable Byzantine settlement where
it remained for centuries until the arrival of the Normans
In 1190, King Tancredi gave it in feudatory to Giorgio Roma.
Under Spanish domination, Ferdinand and Alfonso of Aragona
ordered construction of the Castle (15th Century. The feudatory
of Martano then passed to the Bucale Family in 1545, the Demonti’s
in 1591, the Marchese’s in 1698, the Brunossi’s
in 1742 and then in 1748 to Sebastiano Gadelata, who acquired
it for 50.000 ducats.
The religious buildings of Martano are numerous: Other than
the cathedral dedicated to the Madonna dell’Assunta
(Madonna of the Assumption), one can visit the churches of:
Madonnella, San Lorenzo, Santa Lucia, Santa Maria of the Angels,
SS: Medici, Congreca and the Teofilo.
Just outside the central habitation, one can visit the Santa
Maria della Consolazione (..of consolation) Monastery, which
preserves precious works in its library.
In the neighbourhood, one can visit the Specchia dei Mori
(Messapian) and the Menhir San Totano, testimony of the existence
of populations which already inhabited the territory since