Locorotondo: One of the Best Places to Visit in Puglia, Italy
Below we discuss 5 of the best places to visit in Puglia, Italy, the Italian region that right now seems to fascinate people all over the world. No wonder, as the Puglia region of Italy has it all: the laid-back Italian way of life, great food, amazing beaches, precious works of art and architecture, and a lovely countryside.
Perhaps the first time you heard about Puglia, Italy, was when someone told you about the remarkable trulli of the town of Alberobello, the unique Apulian architecture with the characteristic conical roof.
Located in Southern Italy, in the heel of Italy’s boot, Apulia has been discovered by non-Italians in the last decade or so. Apart from the characteristic trulli, Puglia has many more attractions that make it worth a long visit. The kilometers of sunny coast, the amazing baroque in Lecce and the white town of Ostuni are just a few examples of the Italian beauty that awaits you.
Here are five of the best places to visit in Puglia, Italy, and great suggestions for what to do in Puglia, Italy so that your Italy trip is a resounding success.
Visit the Trulli of Alberobello
Alberobello is in the Itria Valley, a valley with many olive trees, vineyards and the iconic circular houses with the domed roofs that dot the countryside.
The town of Alberobello is the only town in Italy, and the world for that matter, that boasts such a large amount of trulli —about 1500 of them. It was here that the trulli took an urban role. for the first time
Some people skip Alberobello altogether because it’s full of tourists that want to experience the trulli first-hand, but what can you do if everybody wants to see these unique dry-stone dwellings? A firm, positive attitude and avoiding the high season can help you a lot.
In the center of the town you’ll find a large complex of trulli and you can even visit fifteen of them. If you stroll away from the center you’ll see many trulli that are true houses where people actually live.
Bari, the Capital of Apulia on the Adriatic Sea
The historic city of Bari, the San Nicola district, is inserted within the ancient walls and it has the typical medieval urban layout —narrow streets that form an irregular radius. Barinese call it Bari Vecchia that translates as Old Bari, in opposition to the Città Nuova whose construction began in the early 19th century.
In Bari Vecchia people still live in the streets. In the evening, you’ll see entire families happily chatting while the kids are playing. And in the morning the women sit at tables outside their homes busy making, orecchiette, a type of pasta typical of the Puglia region, whose shape reminds that of small ears.
In the center of Bari Vecchia there is the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, an important pilgrimage destination both for Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, and the Bari Cathedral, an important example of Apulian Romanesque. And on the edge of the old city you’ll be able to see the impressive Swabian Castle, a symbolic building that is now used for exhibitions.
Don’t Miss the Città Bianca of Ostuni
Ostuni is known as the White City because until not so long ago the old city was entirely painted with white lime. It is another maze-like town still fortified by the ancient walls.
The historic center of Ostuni rises on top of a hill about 5 miles/8 km from the Adriatic Sea that features several luxury resorts.
Worth visiting is also the Cocathedral of Santa Maria Assunta with a façade in late Gothic style.
As the Italian journalist Ettore Della Giovanna so beautifully wrote:
“Ostuni is the panoramic city par excellence, every house is a belvedere, […] In Ostuni the houses are white, of milk and lime, they are white until they hurt the eyes, the walls, the windows, the doors, the stairs are white, everything is incredibly white. […] You go to Ostuni to understand what it means to be sheltered from the sun […] to stop thinking about distant journeys, here is the charm of all the towns of the seas of the South, here is the equator at hand.”
The surrounding Ostuni countryside is dotted with typical Pugliese large estate-farms called masserie. Some masserie owned by noble families were fortified and even equipped with defensive walls and towers.
Locorotondo: One of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy
The name Locorotondo derives from Luogorotondo, Round Place, after the characteristic shape of the historic center, a group of small white houses arranged on concentric rings.
Also in the Valle d’Itria, In Locorotondo the whole town is the landmark, the maze of whitewashed houses, the geraniums in the balconies, the immaculate streets… A stroll around this enchanting town is a great way to spend a relaxed afternoon.
The Locorotondo countryside features an abundance of trulli and is part of the Terra dei Trulli. It grew an area of dispersed settlements that originated in the 19th century when many people emigrated from the town to the countryside attracted by landowners that encouraged the development of vineyards.
In 2011 Locorotondo was chosen as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy by the Italian association I borghi più belli d’Italia. As far as we know, it is the only town in the province of Bari that has been awarded such distinction.
Another area of interest is the excellent wine that Locorotondo produces. It produces an excellent white wine that is labeled with the Locorotondo DOC, Controlled Designation of Origin.
Lecce, the Florence of the South
Lecce is in the peninsula of Salento, at the southern tip of Puglia and it has wonderful beaches and a strong Greek heritage that includes the Griko language still spoken today.
Lecce is known for its rich Baroque architecture built in the malleable Lecce stone that reached its peak during the Kingdom of Naples and originated the concept of Lecce Baroque.
Apart from being known as the Florence of the south, it has earned other names like the Signora del Barocco, Lady of the Baroque in English. Lecce is definitely an art city.
Lecce is one of the largest cities in Puglia but even so, the number of churches is amazing. In addition to the Lecce Cathedral, there are forty churches scattered throughout the streets and squares of Lecce.
There is an almost overwhelming number of monuments, palaces, and points of interest. The Palazzo dei Celestini that now is the seat of the Province of Lecce, the Castle of Charles V, the Triumphal Arch or Porta Napoli, the medieval Torre di Belloluogo or the now half-buried Anfiteatro Romano di Lecce are just a few examples. If you like the Baroque the town of Lecce is a dream come true.
If you get tired of architecture you can always head to the Orto Botanico di Lecce or the protected natural areas like the Parco Naturale Regionale Bosco e Paludi di Rauccio or the Riserva Naturale San Cataldo, both in the province of Lecce.
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