Locorotondo is a small town in the region of Puglia in southern Italy. It is situated between Martina Franca and Alberobello in the Valle d'Itria, a green stretch of countryside dotted with the famous whitewashed cone-roofed trulli houses. It is officially one of the Borghi più belli d'Italia, the most beautiful villages in Italy. As well as its picturesque appearance the town is also known for its wine production. The town lies in the Province of Bari.
Locorotondo doesn't really have any specific tourist attractions; the town itself is the main sight. It's just a pleasant place to spend an hour or two wandering, taking photographs and sitting at cafe tables. If you are touring by car, it makes a nice peaceful stop, and its location on a railway line means that public transport travellers too can easily break a journey here.
The historic part of town - the centro storico - is circular and perched on top of a hill. It's a whitewashed maze of little lanes lined with historic buldings, some humble and faded, others retaining rather grand baroque archways and architectural details. As well as the little rural trulli houses, which you can see outside Locorotondo, this area is also notable for another unusual type of building. These are houses with pointed gable roofs - uncommmon in Italy - called cummerse. You'll see whitewashed examples of these in Locorotondo's tightly-packed centro storico. It's a pretty and well-cared-for centre, with flower pots ornamenting external stone staircases and balconies.
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, at the top of the hill is the nearest thing to a busy hub in the old town. It is a small square with a cafe and a tourist information office where you can pick up maps and leaflets. Opposite is a little park with views over the countryside below.
There are a few churches to visit in Locorotondo, although you may be unlucky - as we were - and find some closed. One of the most notable is the attractive Romanesque Chiesa della Madonna della Greca which dates to the twelfth or thirteenth century, and has a central rose window. A panoramic street encircles part of the hilltop town centre, and offers great views over the Valle d'Itria. A patchwork of field, vineyard and olive grove is dotted with the cone-shaped roofs of trulli houses and farms. If you have a hire car, you may well have explored some of the quiet rural roads of the area. It's possible to wander down little lanes from the town centre and find yourself between fields in a matter of minutes, with picturesque views back to Locorotondo on its hill. Locorotondo hedges its bets with two patron saints. San Giorgio (St. George) is celebrated with a market fair on the 22nd and 23rd April, and San Rocco (St. Roch) is awarded a day of musical celebrations (called la Diana) finishing off with fireworks on the 16th August.
Locorotondo is known for its wine, which you'll find in restaurants throughout the Puglia region. The principal wine produced locally is white and lightly sparkling. It's cheap and decent; certainly good enough to take home to your holiday trullo for an evening drink. There are also local reds and other whites, still and sparkling. The main wine producer is a historic co-operative called the Cantina Sociale del Locorotondo. It dates to the 1930s, and managed to obtain a prized DOC classification for the local white wine in 1969. The headquarters are on Via Madonna della Catena, across the railway just below town - it's close to the station so is handy for train travellers. It sells directly to the public, so you can wander in to taste the different wines and buy cheap bottles either singly or in bulk. An isolated trullo sits in the middle of the car park, with more smartened-up trullidown a lane alongside.