Locorotondo – Puglia – Italy
Twelve minutes (8.7 km) from Alberobello known for its ancient trulli dwellings; thirteen minutes (9.2 km) from Cisternino known for its medieval center and “bombette” – thin slices of wild boar wrapped around cheese and roasted over hot coals; and thirty-four minutes (27.1 km) from Ostuni with its grand piazza and proximity to gorgeous beaches – a brilliant white town shimmers like a mirage on a hilltop.
Locorotondo – translates to “Round Place” – a simple and aptly descriptive name for a town with a circular structure, encircled by a narrow road that delivers spellbinding 360-degree views of the Valle D’ Itria.
The valley is scattered with ancient trulli dwellings, olive groves, and vines.
While Locorotondo has its share of churches and palazzos, it’s known for its sparkling white wines, “cummersas” sloping roofs – uncommon in Italian architecture – covered with limestone tiles known as chiancarelle; elaborate Baroque buildings; and a labyrinth of bright, white, alleys.
The best way to see this magnetic town is to wander. To lose oneself in the maze of white where pops and blasts of color are provided by flowers spilling from balconies, laundry hanging out to dry, restaurant tables draped in colorful table cloths, and stores displaying their wares outdoors against a white backdrop.
Tucked into a slither of an alley on Via Dottor Giorgio Oliva, 20, is a gem of a church worth searching out. This tiny 17th Century church dedicated to San Nicola di Myra is wedged among houses leaving only its simple door and humble facade visible. Inside, the vaulted ceiling and cupola are adorned with rich artwork depicting the life and miracles of San Nicola di Myra and a group of angel musicians playing their instruments.
At the core of the Old Town is the compact and utterly charming Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.
Directly across the street from the archway leading into the piazza is a park, shaded by leafy trees where “amici” (buddies) hang out on the benches and engage in animated “conversazione” Italian style: with hands waving, and body language and intonation very much an integral part of their communication. Nothing in Italy is bland. There’s energy, passion, life, and color in everything.
Spend a half-day in Locorotondo. Soak up the atmosphere over lunch and a glass of sparkling Locorotondo white wine or search out a B&B and make it your base for exploring Martina, Franca, Alberobello, Cisternino, and Ostuni.