If you are planning a road trip around Southern Italy, Puglia’s Valle d’Itria should be on your radar and – with that – the lovely Locorotondo.
A million miles away – well, in terms of atmosphere – from the popular seaside towns of Ostuni, Polignano a Mare and Monopoli, Locorotondo is the ultimate quaint village. Picture a series of narrow cobbled alleys, whitewashed buildings beautifully adorned with colorful doors and window panes and flower pots, and the famous Trulli that have made nearby Alberobello world-famous.
It is so pretty that it is regularly mentioned among the “Borghi più belli d’Italia” (Italy’s prettiest villages). It will honestly take you no longer than a second to agree with this recognition, as soon as you approach the town from a distance and you’ll spot it standing proud on a solitary hill, overlooking the valley and the infinite olive groves – the same that produce one of the most delicious, high quality olive oil in the country.
Continue reading this post for information on the things to see and do in Locorotondo, and for practical tips to plan your visit.
What To See And Do In Locorotondo
Locorotondo is the kind of place that calls for spontaneous wanderings. Here are a few things you may want to spot.
The Historical Center
Locorotondo owes its name to the shape of its plant – in Latin, Locus Rotondus: quite literally “rounded place.” Indeed, the historical center has a circular plant, with narrow alleys that make a tight circle around the Chiesa Madre di San Giorgio. Make sure to also spot the cummerse – that’s the local name for the pitched roofs which are typical of the region, and which here are made with chianchiarelle, limestone slabs locally sourced.
You can easily explore Locorotondo independently, but if you feel you need some guidance, you may want to consider this tour. It also includes wine tasting.
You’ll find several churches worth popping in – for higher chances of finding them open, go in the morning, right after mass. The already mentioned Chiesa Madre di San Girogio sits in the heart of the historic center, along with San Rocco Church. Make sure not to miss the Romanesque Church of the Madonna della Greca.
Alberobello is known as the town of the trulli, but did you know that the oldest documented Trullo in the entire valley is actually in Locorotondo? The date of its construction is 1559 and it is marked on the architrave of the main door. In its highest point, this trullo is 5.15 meters high.
You’ll find it in the Contrada Marziolla, along the road that connects Locorotondo to San Marco. If you wish to visit, get in touch with the managers via its Facebook page.
Lungomare literally means seafront in Italian. I know, confusing – because Locorotondo really isn’t by the sea. Locals use the word Lungomare to refer to the street that connects the Villa (the panoramic garden) to the market square. It’s a lovely place for a walk, packed with shops, bars, restaurants, and from where you can enjoy great views of the valley below, with vineyards, olive groves, and lots of trulli.
For the best views of the city you will need to head east. I took the photo above from Contrada Cocola.
San Rocco Festival
Taking place on August 15th, this is the most important religious celebration in town – along with San Giorgio, which is celebrated on April 22 and 23. It’s a massive event with live music, a cattle fair, a procession in honor of the saint patron, and a firework competition that is guaranteed to entertain you.
Locorotondo DOC wine tasting
With all the vineyards that surround it, it only goes without saying that Locorotondo has its very own wine – called Bianco Locorotondo DOC. It’s a lightly sparkling white wine of straw yellow color, crisp, fresh and perfect to drink on a hot summer evening.
For a proper wine tasting experience, head to the Cantina Sociale di Locorotondo.
Practical Tips To Plan Your Trip
How to get to Locorotondo
The best way to explore Puglia and the Valle d’Itria is by car. You can rent one directly at Bari or Brindisi Airport, where you’re likely going to be landing. Check out the prices of car rental here.
Driving in Puglia can be tricky as there often are roadworks and deviations, and Google Maps inevitably suggests the shorter route in terms of km, which is hardly the easiest one – trust me, I have made that mistake and found myself driving in country roads in the middle of nowhere! My suggestion is to try and follow the signs as much as possible, and count on the navigator only once you get close to the place you want to visit.
You shouldn’t have an issue finding a parking spot in Locorotondo, as long as you are happy to pay for it. The largest parking lot is slightly outside the old town, in Via Giulio Pastore. You may also find a nice spot at the parking lot in Piazza Antonio Mitrano, closer to the historic center.
Traveling by public transportation in Puglia is certainly doable, but you should be prepared for a slower trip. Having said that, Locorotondo is well connected to Bari, Puglia’s capital, by bus. Buses leave regularly from Bari Largo Sorrentino Station, headed to Martina Franca, and take about one hour and 20 minutes to get to Locorotondo.
There are no direct trains from Bari to Locorotondo (you’d have to take a combination of bus and train) and at the time of writing there are no direct trains connecting Bari to the nearby Alberobello and Martina Franca either.
By Guided Tour
Finally, you can join a guided day trip from Bari that also goes to the nearby Alberobello and Ostuni. For more information, click here – please take care to notice that the price is per group.
Where to stay and eat
If you wish to base yourself in Locorotondo during your trip around Valle d’Itria, you’ll have several excellent accommodation option. For ease of access to restaurants and bars, and if you are traveling by public transport, you should definitely look for a place in the center of town. If you have a car, you can opt to stay in a trullo in the countryside – the silence is absolutely blissful!
I have selected the best places to stay:
- LA DIMORA U CURDUNN – A lovely apartment in a historic building in the center of town, it’s decorated in traditional style and incredibly cozy. Breakfast is included in the price. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- NENETTE – Another beautifully refurbished apartment in the historic center, it’s suitable for up to 3 guests and comes with a great breakfast. Click here for the latest rates.
- TRULLI CAROLI – If you want the experience of staying in a beautifully restored trullo, this is the best place. It’s located in the countryside, and comes with a kitchenette. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
There are many good restaurants and eateries in town. My two favorites are:
- BINA – A truly nice restaurant in the center of town, with a selection of traditional dishes “just as grandma used to make them.” The owner is a lovely man who – if you speak a bit of Italian – will entertain you with stories about the dishes and how they came about.
- PIETRANUDA – A pub-style kind of place located right outside the historic center, they have a good selection of local dishes and steaks, and lots of beers on tap.
Are you planning a trip to Italy? Make sure to check my other posts
- What To See And Do In Alberobello, Puglia
- 13 Cool Things To Do In Bari, Italy
- 13 Cool Things To Do In Matera Italy
- 17 Reasons To Visit Italy As Soon As Possible
- 21 Best Movies About Italy You Need To Watch
- A Guide To The Best Places To Visit In Italy
- A Perfect Italy Itinerary: What To See And Do With 10 Days Or More
- What To Do And What To Avoid When Planning A Trip To Italy