Want to know what to see in Locorotondo? Follow me on this itinerary in Puglia to discover the small jewel near Bari and its surroundings!
Located in the province of Bari, Locorotondo is a small municipality in the Itria Valley, on the Murgia plateau. In this territory, halfway between the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea, the signs of agricultural work are clearly visible on the surrounding rural landscape: this, in fact, is rich in vineyards, olive groves and cultivated fields, all developed around small communities of trulli.
Locorotondo owes its name to its main feature: the typical white houses in the centre, called “cummerse”, form concentric circles that get bigger and bigger as you move towards the outskirts. These houses, with their peculiar sloping roofs made of limestone slabs, are reminiscent of fairy tales and Nordic scenarios, the result of the ancient Swabian domination.
Although the “chiancarelle”, the stones used for the roof, are the same, the cummerse have a rectangular structure quite different from the rounded structure of the Trulli of Alberobello; this allows them to create a unique landscape in the Trulli Valley.
Tradition and conviviality are the essence of this village, full of light-coloured paved alleys, common courtyards full of chairs and steps, and flower-filled balconies. Depending on the time of your visit, you can admire different decorations, from fragrant flowers to aerial displays in the streets of the centre. Moreover, the presence of several viewpoints inside and outside the town will allow you to admire the Itria Valley and Locorotondo in all their splendour.
Its countryside is criss-crossed by the DOC wine road, a route of about one hundred kilometres to discover Puglia’s many DOC wines: Locorotondo DOC is created here, a very delicate dry white wine that also comes in a sparkling version. And finally, its beauty has provided the perfect setting for several films, including Alberto Sordi’s David di Donatello-winning Polvere di stelle.
Included in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Locorotondo can be enjoyed all year round, but the best time might be spring, to admire the beautiful flowering balconies without the crowds of summer tourists. You could also take advantage of the patron saint’s feast day: San Gregorio Martire, which is celebrated in April.
If for you Puglia was only sea, follow me in this guide on what to see in Locorotondo and discover the culture, history, art and food and wine traditions of the Apulian hinterland. Get inspired for your next visit, whether it is a short break, a weekend or a few more days.
What to see in Locorotondo
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As you may have already guessed, the heart of Locorotondo is within the small, walkable village. The itinerary I am about to propose winds entirely through romantic alleys, old churches, baroque palaces and small traditional shops and can be covered in half a day.
My advice is to start from Porta Napoli, located in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. The short duration of this tour does not mean that there is nothing to do; on the contrary, there is nothing to stop you from undertaking other activities, such as walks in the countryside, cycling or wine tasting experiences.
Are you ready? Here we go! 👇
1. Piazza Vittorio Emanuele
Called “the town’s living room”, this square serves as a meeting point for tourists and locals alike and is the gateway to the town, thanks to the two stone columns of Porta Napoli. Walking around the square you will find small craft shops, the tourist information office and, carved into the pavement, the coat of arms of the city of Locorotondo.
2. Clock Tower
Located above the old town hall in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele is the clock tower. Erected in 1819, this tower borrowed – and no longer returns – the ancient clock from the bell tower of the Mother Church. Towering over what was once the town hall, university and former parliament of Locorotondo, its tallest rooms, small and with an exposed barrel vault, were used as prison cells. Today, however, they house the headquarters of the municipality’s historical archive.
3. Morelli Palace
At the end of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele begins Via Morelli, named after the palace of the same name built in the Baroque style. Its architecture recalls that used in nearby Martina Franca and its main façade features a richly decorated portal, on which the Morelli family coat of arms can be admired. Despite the many alterations it has undergone, the palace has been able to preserve the two wrought-iron railings of the two small balconies facing directly onto the street.
4. Chapel of Our Lady of Succour
From the opposite side of Via Morelli, you enter Largo Soccorso, where the chapel of Santa Maria del Soccorso was erected in 1630. Its simple façade bears the coat of arms of the Barossa family, who commissioned its construction, a porthole and a small bell gable.
5. Mother Church of San Giorgio
From here, proceeding through a series of alleyways, you will arrive at the beautiful neoclassical mother church of San Giorgio, erected on the remains of two other previously existing churches. Inside, you can admire the Renaissance figurative decorations and the Baroque altar, made in Naples. Outside, to its left, you can visit the Church of the Annunziata, built on the remains of an oratory and a hospital.
In addition, the dome of the mother church is perfectly visible right outside the town, from the various viewpoints that will allow you to admire it in all its splendour.
6. Church of St Nicholas
Continuing along the left side of the mother church, you will find the Church of San Nicola on your left. Built in 1666, the church now stands between taller houses, making it appear smaller and squashed. The white lime of the walls contrasts perfectly with the grey chiancarelle of the roof, Locorotondo’s typical cummerse cladding.
The interior is richly decorated with paintings and, below the second archway on the left, a bas-relief depicting the crucifixion is preserved. This artefact, much older than the church itself, was allegedly found inside a cave near the municipality.
7. Church of Santa Maria della Greca
Outside the historical centre proper, what was once enclosed by the town walls, is the church of Santa Maria della Greca. Although there is no certain information on its origins, it is assumed that this church is the oldest in the whole of Locorotondo. It was first mentioned in 1520, but its architecture shows that it was built much earlier. In fact, its layout is typical of all Apulian churches built throughout the Middle Ages.
8. Via Nardelli, the “promenade” of Locorotondo
From this last church, you can walk along Via Nardelli, also known as Locorotondo’s waterfront. If you are wondering why this nickname, just take a look at the enchanting panorama that can be enjoyed from this street: you will realise that Locorotondo is immersed in a veritable sea of green, that of the Itria Valley countryside.
9. Villa comunale and panoramas
Reaching the end of Via Nardelli, you will arrive at Piazza Dante, overlooking a hillock called Monte Grappa. On this relief, formerly outside the walls, stands today the municipal villa, named after Giuseppe Garibaldi. From its gardens you can admire an excellent view of the Itria Valley and contemplate the war memorial. This viewpoint will be the perfect conclusion to the itinerary, especially if you get there by sunset time.
10. The doilies of Locorotondo
If you are still not completely satisfied with your day in Locorotondo, I suggest you follow the signs to the viewpoint called “doilies of Locorotondo”. Here you can admire this beautiful round village from the outside, surrounded by hay bales decorated with beautiful white lace doilies. There is no better place to admire the sunset and take some photos!
Visit Locorotondo & its surroundings
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Don’t want to go home yet? Here are some tips on how to extend your trip and discover what to see in and around Locorotondo.
Absolutely not to be missed is the Trullo Marziolla, the oldest trullo in the Itria Valley whose date of construction is known. This trullo is built entirely of dry-stone quarried from the surrounding land to allow for its cultivation.
Continuing your journey in the Trulli Valley, you cannot fail to admire the famous Alberobello. Although its trulli are more recent, its circular shapes and domes are an emblem of Apulia that you cannot miss.
Also around the city you can explore Cisternino, a small town inhabited since Palaeolithic times; Putignano, famous for its caves and the oldest carnival in Europe; Martina Franca, a small Baroque jewel that also inspired the architecture of the nearby town of Locorotondo.
A little further afield, you can visit Polignano a mare and photograph its houses overlooking the sea or fall in love with the “heart of Puglia”: Monopoli and its 99 contrade.
And finally, I recommend you go all the way to Bari to admire the old town and the port in all its splendour. Here you can walk along via dell’Arco Basso, later renamed the “via delle orecchiette” and take home a unique souvenir.
See? Puglia really does have a lot to offer! 😎
What to do in Locorotondo?
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For those who love shopping, I recommend paying attention to the small shops in the historic centre where you can find the art of authentic craftsmen, such as Apulian ceramics and crochet work.
Don’t miss the chance to have an aperitif at sunset with the excellent Locorotondo DOC white wine, paired with tasty local specialities such as caciocavallo and fresh caciotta. Don’t miss the chance to take some dreamy photos from the various vantage points while sipping your glass! And speaking of eating, I want to tell you about the excellent local cuisine.
Local food & wine
As you can imagine, the production of Locorotondo DOC wine plays an important role in local eating habits, but not only as a table wine. In fact, the inhabitants of Locorotondo are used to adding “percoche” (peaches), cut into small pieces, inside their glasses, thus concluding their meal with this traditional “sweet”.
Also very important to the local cuisine is extra virgin olive oil, without which it would not be possible to prepare the many vegetable sauces and salads.
Another product of the countryside, indispensable to the survival of the ancient inhabitants of Locorotondo, is wheat. It is present in different types and various fine products are made from it. Some examples are: friselle, fragrant potato cakes, and U’ Tridde, a type of pasta made with egg and grated pecorino cheese, cut into uneven pieces and served with turkey broth.
Then how can we forget orecchiette, a pasta shape typical of this region? It lends itself to a multitude of condiments, first and foremost turnip tops. And finally, remember to taste the historic dried figs, sweets once prepared on the roofs of trulli and cummerse, left to dry in the hot summer sun. With these, farmers used to prepare small snacks for children, hiding an almond or a walnut kernel inside two fig halves.
Hungry? Don’t miss the opportunity to taste wine and local specialities, perhaps by taking part in wine tastings or getting involved in a real cooking class.
Nature and sports activities
If you are a nature and sports lover, don’t worry! Locorotondo and its surroundings have a lot to offer for you too. In fact, just a few kilometres from the municipality, you will find yourself inside the Regional Natural Park of the Coastal Dunes, where you can choose from several trekking routes. You will be immersed in the flora of the Mediterranean maquis, medieval rural churches, rock caves and underground olive oil mills.
On the other hand, if you are a cycling enthusiast, don’t worry! Inside the park you will be able to rent bikes to ride along the cycle path along the ancient Via Traiana. Alternatively, I also recommend the water cycle path, a route for cyclists that follows the hidden river road from Cisternino to Santa Maria di Leuca.
Events in Locorotondo
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Here are some of the unmissable events in Locorotondo:
- the two patron saint’s festivals, St George Martyr on 23 April and St Roch on 15, 16 and 17 August.
- the Christmas lighting in the historic centre, which decorates the small village every year and has allowed Locorotondo to become known as the queen of Christmas in Apulia.
How to get to Locorotondo
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Having finished our tour of Locorotondo, here is some information on how to reach this beautiful village. The main arrival point, if you are not travelling with your own transport, is certainly the station, which with trains and buses connects Locorotondo to Alberobello, Martina Franca, Bari and Taranto.
If you are arriving from very far away, the two nearest airports are Bari and Brindisi. On the other hand, if you have decided to travel by car, the town is served by state road 172, which, if you arrive from Martina Franca, will allow you to appreciate the splendid round shape of the village.
In addition, the car park in Piazza Antonio Mitrano will allow you to park your car just a few steps from the historic centre. Alternatively, there is also the Largo car park in Piazza Guglielmo Marconi, on the other side of town, and the underground car park in Piazza Aldo Moro, next to the town hall.
And now that you know what to see in Locorotondo, I would like to remind you that Italia Delight allows you to book food and wine experiences and trips, even customised ones, made just for you. Book your next experience as soon as possible and discover all that Puglia has to offer! 😉
Cover photo: arianna260-zappia, unsplash
Featured photo: tommaso-cantelli-unsplash