Aug 022013

Locorotondo is one of the most picturesque hilltop villages of Puglia’s Valle D’Itria (Itria Valley), earning it the official designation of “Borghi più belli d’Italia”, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. With its brilliant white buildings and peaked roofs crowning the hill, it immediately grabbed our attention and imagination as we approached from the road below.

Around the Round Place

Locorotondo means “round place”, named that because of the circular layout of the streets in the old town (centro storico) with the Chiesa Madre di San Giorgio (The Mother Church of Saint George) in the center.

"Buildings on Via Vittorio Veneto and the bell tower of Chiesa Madre in Locorotondo, Italy"

Buildings on Via Vittorio Veneto and the bell tower of Chiesa Madre

It’s believed that Locorotondo was first settled by the Greeks several centuries B.C. The earliest historical records go back to 1195 and a document written by King Henry VI of Swabia referring to the place as “Rotondo”. The town has endured centuries of economic decline, cultural turmoil, uprisings and invasions. That’s a lot of history to delve into, but for now —

Walk with me around Locorotondo

"Traveling with Sweeney walking among the whitewashed buildings of Locorotondo, Italy"

Characteristic whitewashed buildings of Locorotondo

Coming into town on Corso XX Settembre, the entrance to the old town takes you past the tourist center on the right and Piazza Vittorio directly ahead.

"Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Locorotondo"

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

This is where we started our walk along the labyrinth of the pristine narrow streets of Locorotondo. It’s also where our driver and guide, Carlo Romano, introduced us to two gentlemen from the Locorotondo tourist center who kindly accompanied us on a portion of our walk.

"Walking along narrow alley between whitewashed buildings with flowers in Locorotondo"

Walking with Locorotondo tourist center representatives

Around every corner we admired the glistening white buildings, peaked roofs, and balconies adorned with flowers. The peaked roofs (cummerse) made of limestone slabs (chiancarelle) of the simply-designed, whitewashed buildings that line the narrow lanes are distinguishing characteristics of the old town.

"Distinctive peaked roof of a building in old town Locorotondo"

Distinctive peaked roof

At the end of the lane below is the baroque façade of Palazzo Morelli, built in 1819 as an aristocratic residence with the wrought iron balconies you see on many of the houses in Locorotondo. Today, Palazzo Morelli is home to the town library.

"Palazzo Morelli in Locorotondo, Italy now houses the town library"

Palazzo Morelli

Since the beginning of the 14th century, the buildings have been whitewashed — originally to reflect the sun to combat the black plague of the dark ages. Today, it is a tradition that is kept proudly as a symbol of the town’s culture and history.

"Lovely buildings and flowers seen along a walk in Locorotondo"

Lovely buildings and flowers

Great care is taken by residents to maintain the buildings and streets. On the morning of our walk, we noticed a man refreshing the paint (a limewash mixture) and women washing the stones of the lane in front of their homes.

"Well-maintained buildings of Locorotondo are regularly painted"

Buildings are regularly painted

The brush instead of a roller on the handle seemed a rather interesting technique.

"Perfectly lovely home on a street in Locorotondo, Italy"

Perfectly lovely home, typical of Locorotondo

We have only seen a small part of Italy, but we completely agree with the “Borghi più belli d’Italia” designation.

"Exploring the streets of Locorotondo"

Exploring the streets of Locorotondo

It was almost too much to absorb with the little time we’d been allotted, so Mr. TWS and I scurried through the maze-like streets trying to take in as much as we could.

"Courtyard with flowers in Locorotondo, Italy"

Courtyard with flowers

Tiny courtyards with pretty gardens were tucked away off some of the streets.

"Passageway leading to courtyard in Locorotondo, Italy"

Quiet passageway to a bright courtyard

This quiet passageway opened up to a bright courtyard beyond.

"Angles of pitched roofs agains a blue sky create an abstract image in Locorotondo, Italy"

An abstract effect

The whitewashed buildings and angles of the roofs against the perfectly blue sky created some intriguing abstract images.

"Arches across the narrow street adorned by flowers in Locorotondo"

Arches across the narrow street adorned by flowers

"Peaceful street scene in Locorotondo"

Peaceful street scene

Ornate beauty of the churches

In every town we visited in Puglia, there were several churches and cathedrals with amazing interior designs, each one different from the next in style and features. These are just a few.

Chiesa Madre di San Giorgio (Mother Church of St. George the Martyr)

Chiesa Madres that occupies the center of the old town was designed by architect Giuseppe Gimma and built between 1790 and 1825. On the façade, there is a relief of “St. George and the Dragon” above the entrance.

"Exterior facade of Chiesa Madre di San Giorgio, Locorotondo"

Chiesa Madre di San Giorgio

"Altar in Chiesa Madre di San Giorgio in Locorotono, Italy"

Altar in Chiesa Madre di San Giorgio

I thought the dome ceiling of the church was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

"Stunning dome and canopy in Chiesa di San Giorgio"

Stunning dome and canopy in Chiesa di San Giorgio

We were also shown the crypt with pieces of the original foundation displayed, a small chapel, and the church’s treasure.

Chiesa San Rocco

This neo-classical style church built around 1600 is named after St. Rocco, the patron saint of Locorotondo and many towns in the area. He was believed to protect the people from the plague in the 17th century. This beautiful building replaced the original church after it was demolished in 1804.

"The Church of St. Rocco in Locorotondo, Italy"

Church of St. Rocco

Chiesa di San Nicola

"Exterior of Chiesa di San Nicola, Locorotondo, Italy

Chiesa di San Nicola

San Nicola is a small church built around 1600. It was not open for our visit, but it houses exceptional interior design and artistic decorations that contrasts with the simple exterior we saw from the street.

Coming up in Locorotondo

Each year on August 15, 16 and 17, there are festivals for the town’s patron saint, St. George Martyr and also for St. Rocco complete with a fireworks competition on the 16th, the winner of which presents their fireworks show on the 17th. I’d love to be in Locorontondo for the festivities sometime!

Moving on from Locorotondo

"View of the fields and trulli in the countryside from Locorotondo"

View of the valley and countryside from Locorotondo

Often referred to as “the balcony on the Valle d’Itria” because of its position 410 meters above sea level, Locorotondo offers views of the countryside dotted with the cone-shaped trulli unique to this area of Puglia. This photos was taken from Villa Garibaldi across the street from the entrance to the old town (near the tourist information center).

From Locorotondo, we traveled through the fields, olive groves and sites of ancient settlements you see in the photo to the Cisternino, a town about five miles away in the hills seen in the distance. Later, we also visited Martina Franca and Alberobello, each with their own history and character. We’ll take you along on walks through those towns in future posts.

If you go:

The closest airports to Locorotondo are Bari-Palese (72km) and Brindisi-Casale (69km)
Locorotondo is 106km from Lecce, 200km from Foggia and 38km from Taranto
If traveling by FSE train, the station is Locorotondo, by Trenitalia the station is Fasano

Our thanks to Puglia Promozione for hosting our Puglia experience.

I’m contributing this post to Nancie McKinnon’s Budget Traveler’s Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday and Noel Morata’s Travel Photo Mondays on Travel Photo Discovery. Enjoy other links to travel photos and stories on their sites, too!

  51 Responses to “A Walk Around Locorotondo”

  1. What a beautiful walk! I loved the whitewashed villages that we saw in Greece but I didn’t realize that there were some in Italy as well. I could wander in a village such as this all day!

    • It is rather surprising at first. These “white towns” are so beautiful. It’s wonderful that in Locorotondo and other towns that they take such pride in keeping them so lovely, too.

  2. What a beautiful little town. Never heard of Locorotondo before! I wonder how it changed over the centuries…

    • I hope to look into more of that history sometime, too and share it here on the blog. So much fascinating history throughout Italy.

  3. Absolutely beautiful! I love the charming homes and all those colorful flower boxes. It’s something I would have expected in Greece or Spain but pleasantly surprised to see this in Italy too. What a well-maintained town. I’m such a fan of European churches and these are wonderful. It almost looks like you guys had the place to yourselves. What a great gem in Italy.

    • It was very quiet on the morning we were in Locorotondo. I’m sure it gets busier, but the Puglia region in general is not as much on the tourist path as many other parts of Italy. At least, not yet.

  4. What a wonderful trip through Italy you’re taking us on! I love this village and its white houses. Beautiful.

  5. Your lovely photos made me decide that I just spend more time in Italy, gorgeous and very charming little towns

  6. Absolutely stunning my friend!! Love all the white-washed architecture, very reminiscent of Greece and if it weren’t for your article, I would swear these pics are from Greece!! LOVED this post!

    • Thanks, Jeff. There actually is quite a bit of history associated with Greeks in the Puglia region.

  7. What fun to add another white village to our list of ‘must visit’. This one is every bit as pretty as those we’ve seen in Spain and Greece. Lovely photos!

    • Oh, I’d love to see the while towns of Greece & Spain too (been to Spain, but didn’t get to any towns like that).

  8. Love you posts and photos – always feel as though I’m right there, traveling with you. 😀

  9. Simply beautiful!

  10. The village we house sat in Spain was also a white Village. It seems a wide spread idea. I think that painting with the brush on a stick would be too hard – give me a roller any day – the side to side motion would be hard to achieve I think.

    • That is a curious thing about the paint brush, isn’t it? If our Italian had been better, we’d have asked him about it.

  11. What a gorgeous town! You caught it quite well with your shots. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, Marlys. I wish I could share all of the pics we took. We each had our own cameras and there were so many wonderful photo opportunities.

  12. What an adorable and extremely white town. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much white architecture ever in one place!

    • It was a first for me, too. Then we went on to see a few of the other white towns — all quite beautiful.

  13. What a fun tour, I would love to just stroll and get lost and just happen into one of these beautiful churches and see all the peek-a-boo gardens, what a fun tour, thanks for linking up!

    • That’s what we did mostly in Locorotondo and other towns in Puglia — just wandered and got lost. Loved every minute!

  14. Beautiful city 😉

  15. We haven’t been to the very south of Italy despite living here. It’s quite a big country, so not so easy to reach the bottom of the boot. But I can’t get over how much your photos look as though you were in Greece and not Italy! What a stark difference from the north.

    • That seems to be a common perspective — it really does look like pics I’ve seen of Greece. I hope you do get down to Puglia. I think that our train from Rimini to Foggia was about 2-1/2 hours. Don’t know how much more it would be from your town.

  16. Tis a beautiful place and I found it very interesting how the local man was painting the wall.

    • It was nice that he let us take his picture. We also saw women cleaning the street in front of their homes. Very nice that they care so much about the beauty of their town.

  17. It’s images like these that leave me fantasizing about life in small nooks of the world such as Locorotondo. What a lovely village!

    • It’s been nice to reminisce about all of the towns we visited in Italy as I do these blog posts. But it does make me want to go back — sooner rather than later.

  18. Wow, what the beautiful building! looks a great heritage site. I like the technique of the painter for doing the color at the wall.
    really, you have a wonderful account.

  19. I’m glad people come to Puglia as well as other famous Italian regions such as Tuscany. There is so much to see in the South of Italy too 🙂
    If you’ve been to Locorotondo, you must have visited Alberobello which is my hometown, have you?

    • Yes, we went to Alberobello that same day and spent the night at a masseria near town. Loved your hometown and I’ll be posting about it soon. Stay tuned!

  20. Locorotondo picked my interest as soons you mentioned its designation as one of the beuatiful villages of Italy. It truly looks beautiful. It also looks unique from a lot of Italian villages I’ve been – it’s whitewashed buildings give it a vibe of a town in a Greek Island rather than Italy. Thanks for delightful virtual tour.

    • Thanks for your nice comment! I found it so interesting that each town, although there were similarities, had its own character. And, of course, the contrast between places in Emilia-Romagna and Puglia was striking.

  21. I love all the white!

  22. Great pictures, really felt in love with this place. I love those kind of lovely day trips 🙂

  23. Narrow alleyways, tiny windows, flowers… gorgeous!

  24. those are some very nice photos. great job.


  25. Cathy, I always wanted to know why everything was painted white so thank you for the explanation! It looks absolutely beautiful there. That church altar was amazing! 🙂

  26. […] a walk around Locorotondo earlier in the morning, we drove six miles to Cisternino, passing fields, olive groves and clusters […]

  27. […] with its round structures with cone-shaped roofs, “The White City” of Ostuni, Locorotondo with its distinctive peaked roofs, and others that we’ll be covering individually in more […]

  28. […] driving through the Valle d’Itria to visit the white hilltop towns of Locorotondo, Cisternino and Martina Franca we had seen trulli, some of them very old, along the road. My first […]

  29. […] was a whirlwind of white towns in the Valle d’Itria in Puglia for us in June. First we walked around Locorotondo, then drove across the valley to Cisternino and later strolled the trulli-lined lanes of […]

  30. Very clean city and I love this kind of peoples who have know how to live with cleaning and San Giorgio i already there to stay for my Uncle Home and really enjoy to read this article and re call you my past and memories thanks..
    Thumbs Up for your Post.

  31. […] the streets of Alberobello and three other beautiful cities of Puglia’s Valle d’Itria – Locorotondo, Cisternino, and Martina Franca seemed easy-going and exuding a love of life. Passing residents as […]

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