Situated in the Puglia (Apulia) region of south-east Italy, Locorotondo is on a 400 meters high hill on the plateau called "Murgia dei Trulli” . Locorotondo is a delightful village of whitewashed houses set on a hill-top. It is classed as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy - "Borghi più belli d'Italia".
Locorotondo is best known for its quaint cottages called 'trulli', which will attract your attention as you explore the region, but be sure to allow time to enjoy the other historic monuments and churches in the town as well!
The town follows a circular plan, and is a very pleasant place to pass a couple of hours just wandering around the centre.
The Trulli and old town of Locorotondo
Start your visit by passing through 'Porta Napoli', one of the ancient gates that leads into Locorotondo, to discover the Old Town. This began as a group of "trulli", (small traditional houses, at that time called "casedde"). The first inhabitants, mostly farmers, worked in the areas called "jazzelere" near the threshing-door, well and small church.
(Nowadays you will see more traditional trulli outside the town centre.)
The best way to visit this village centre is to amble throught the pretty streets, which follow a circular layout and were surrounded by walls until the middle of the 19th century. The houses are characterized by typical pointed roofs, known as "cummerse”, with limestone roof slabs.
From time to time when you are at the edge of the town you are rewarded with scenic views across the countryside, while in the centre of the village you will find the Locorotondo tourist office in a square called the Piazza Vitttorio Emanuelle (one of several cafes in the town is also in this square).
Saint George Cathedral
The old circular structure of the Old Town in Locorotondo is centred around the Cathedral Church of St. George, built between 1790 and 1825.
The Renaissance-style façade has a relief of "St. George and the Dragon" in the tympanum (above the entrance) and at the two corners, further down, are statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, carved by an unknown local artist in the 18th century.
The church has a Greek cross form and some Neo-classical elements which harmonize well with the other aspects of Renaissance and Baroque character.
Among the paintings in the cathedral note the picture of the “Last Supper”, by the Neapolitan painter Gennaro Maldarelli (1769 approx.-1858); a fresco of Bishop St. Donatus; and an 18th century painting portraying the “Risen Christ”, by an unknown author. Next to the altar of the Assumption, is another of Maldarelli’s paintings from 1838. In the sacristy you can also see three ancient paintings, thought to be from the early 18th century, by an unknown author and depicting a “ Scourged Christ”, “The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew” and “Doubting Thomas".
Church of our Lady 'della Greca'
Another artistically valuable building in Locorotondo is the Church of Our Lady “della Greca”, a Basilian building dating from the 12th century. Rebuilt by Pirro Del Balzo (1430-1487), the church has a basilica plan, with a façade in a very simple style.
Inside the church notice the presence of a painting by J.L. Desprez (18th century) and a Polyptych on the central altar dedicated to the "Madonna of the Roses”, with Saint Lucia, Saint Peter, and the “Madonna and Child”.
Other Locorotondo churches and monuments
Another church to visit is the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, built in the late 17th century and with a 17th century painting of the "Descent of the Holy Spirit", by a painter named Bruno.
The Church of San Rocco dates back to the 17th century and has a painting of "San Rocco between the plague", by the local painter Antonio Vito Semeraro (1855-18859).
You can conclude your tour of the holy places of Locorotondo with any of the other churches:
- the Church of the Hospital, dating from the 16th century (with a very old painting of late-Gothic style depicting “Christ on the Throne”);
- the 16th century Madonna della Catena Church (in the apse of which is preserved a fragment of a fresco depicting the "Madonna della Catena");
- the SS. Annunziata Church (19th century, with some statues depicting the Madonna);
- the Addolorata Church (19th century, with various polychrome statues);
- and finally Saint Nicholas Church (17th century, with several paintings from the same period).
Finally, it is worth seeing the Morelli Palace, in the Baroque style and distinguished by its portal and wrought iron balconies.
Locorotondo region and tradition - cuisine
The region around Locorotondo is very pleasant to explore with the trulli cottages and a countryside of olive groves and vineyards, which also produce a fine local white wine.
The most traditional regional dish to try is certainly the “involtini soffocati”, or the so-called "gnummeredde" (tripe, lamb and parsley sprigs, sliced onions, parsley, salt, pepper, and tomatoes). Other typical dishes are the “black ‘orecchiette’ with turnip,” and the "taglierina" home-made sauce with salt cod.
If you have enjoyed seeing the "trulli" be sure to visit the nearby village of Alberobello which has some wonderful examples.
See also Locorotondo history and etymology
You can find more local travel ideas in the Puglia guide.