Between the end of the XVIII century and the beginning of the XIX, the event of the exportation of the donkey stallions from the bringing up of Martina Franca increased, at first only towards the other Italian states ( Lombardo-Veneto, Papal State), subsequently all over the world. The exportation permitted the growth of this breed renown, so that, already in the XIX century many zootechnic treatises authors technicians of the sector, such as Fogliata, Faelli and Chiari, began to define this breed as “Pugliese” and then as Guascogna’s and Catalogna’s breeds.

     Only in the 1904, the south-east Murgia Donkeys were formally called “Martina Franca Donkey Breed” by Francesco Tucci, Palermo’s zootechnical Royal Institute director, who introduced in Sicily Stallions of such breed for the improvement of the local breed of Ragusa and of Pantelleria.

     In the first twenty years of the XX century, the decline of this breed, was definite above all by the endless and excessive exportation of good reproducers of the breed, this driven the National Economy Minister to prevent the breed producer exportation before, and after, in the 1926, to give off a decree was emanated, in it was ratified the Genealogic Book institution of the Martina Franca donkey breed in Noci, Alberobello, Locorotondo, Cisternino, Ceglie Messapica, Ostuni and Martina Franca territories, which the best reproduces and their descendants had to be written. The installation and the function of the Genealogical Breed Book was entrusted to the Foggia’s Stallions Deposit, according to the directive and under the vigilance of the Wood and Agriculture ministry, which could faced the relative costs; the task of to certificate the breed and the type reproducers standard (mares and stallions) was addressed to the Minister Commission composed by experienced breeders such as Nello Fotticchia, Luca Pastore, Aristide Valletta, Giuseppe Butticè and Antonio Rizzo.



Franceschina, Martina Franca mare she-ass breed producer of excellent foals


Galeone, one of the best producer and father of Marco da Martina


(Picture by  Prof. Aurelio Bianchedi - From Dr.  R. G. Montanaro,L'asino di Martina Franca, in Rivista di zootecnia, Firenze, 1930)


     During April 1926, the Commission’s tasks ended, officially was born, with 183 selected elements, the Razza Asinina di Martina Franca (Martina Franca Donkey Breed). The Genealogical Book, officially closed the 1st January 1929, it had as founder the donkey stallions Marco da Martina (born in 1924 from Galeone), Bello (born in 1928 from Tommaso) and Colosseo (born in 1928 from Peppino).


Marco da Martina, first founder of the Martina Franca Donkey Breed

(Picture by the Pastore Family private archives)


     From that moment the Martina Franca Donkey were exported in a growing number of foreign countries - especially in France, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, Greek and in Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and India - both for the development of the local kinds and for the production of more qualitative mules. In particular, the south-eastern French preferred them to the Poiton donkeys, as they represented - according to what Butticè reported -  “ the advantage of a breast width, freedom of the shoulder and the limbs movements, complete correction of the lack of perpendicular, dryness of the shins”.



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