Art, history, tradition, faith and mystery. The Golden Curls itinerary will introduce the visitor to the historical and architectural Baroque beauties of the town of Francavilla Fontana and its excellent wine and food products.
Outside the town centre it is possible to admire stretches of olive groves, dry stone walls and ancient partially renovated farmhouses which today are used as holiday farms and teaching farmhouses. The journey in discovery of the historic centre starts from the sanctuary of Maria SS della Croce inside of which wooden decorations and some eighteenth century paintings can be appreciated, then going on to the centre of the town. Along the way we find the seventeenth century Porta del Carmine, built between 1630 and 1656 by the Imperiali. Then we move on to the castle of the Imperiali, half fortress half palazzo, commissioned by Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo around 1450. Towards the historic centre, next to the Palazzo Imperiali, there is a small museum of farming civilisation, situated in an old building.
Further on we can see the Church of Santa Chiara with its fine floor covered with majolica tiles; in fact here the nine statues of the Mysteries (The Passion of Christ) in multi-coloured papier-maché made at the end of the eighteenth century are kept. The church, today in neoclassical style, was rebuilt in 1836 after a previous church (the convent of the Clarisses) dating back to the XVII century, was knocked down. On Good Friday, the solemn procession of the mysteries, one of the most important rites of Holy Week, starts from here. One after the other, the statues come out of the church accompanied by the various confraternities and cross-bearers (penitents of various extraction, that carry a very heavy wooden cross “lu trau” on their shoulders and create a long silent procession, rich in pathos, which winds through the various alleyways of the historic centre). And it is here, at Francavilla Fontana, that there are many papier maché workshops and confectionary artisans who produce curly sugar-coated almonds, the confectionary-symbol of the town, in a lumpy shape, from almonds, sugar, water and natural aromas.
Piazza Giovanni XXIII
Basilica Pontificia Minore
Museo della Civiltà Contadina