Anyone who’s visited Italy knows it’s home to a whole host of beautiful villages. There are snowy hamlets high up in the Italian Alps, elegant lakeside resorts where stylish holidaymakers gather, and towns nestled amongst sun-drenched olive groves where locals dine on narrow cobbled streets.
Of course, there are magnificent cities to explore, filled with world-class museums and monuments, like Venice and Rome. But it's often the beauty of these smaller villages and towns which tempts us back time and time again.
There are some that are particularly enchanting, like the Puglian town of Locorotondo, which you can visit on Good Housekeeping's six-day gourmet tour of the region. It’s one of the borghi più belli d'Italia - a collection of the most beautiful and historically significant small towns in the country.
Locorotondo is certainly deserving of its 'most beautiful small town' accolade. Perched on a hilltop in the sun-drenched Valle d'Itria in Puglia, you’ll find this town nestled in the idyllic southern Italian countryside of stone farmhouses, olive groves, and vineyards.
On arrival, you’ll be greeted by a postcard-perfect view of shining white facades embellished by geraniums at the height of summer, with wooden shutters and ornate wrought-iron balconies decked with flowers.
Locorotondo means ‘round place’, reflecting the Puglian town’s design, a fascinating circular labyrinth of narrow streets which wind up to the sleepy central piazza with an elegant neoclassical church.
The town's elevation makes it a perfect vantage point for panoramic views across a tapestry of vineyards and olive groves. These landscapes are dotted with the region’s iconic trulli, distinctive cylindrical dwellings only found in the Itria Valley and originally built as homes for farmers working in the region's vineyards and olive groves.
Of course, being a Puglian town, Locorotondo takes its cuisine seriously. There are traditional osterias (traditionally wine bars that serve food), where you can stop for a leisurely lunch, perhaps an authentic pasta dish like orecchiette con cime di rapa, a typical vegetarian pasta.
You could try a glass of the town's own vintage, Locorotondo DOP, grown in the sun-drenched vineyards you'll see surrounding the town.
Part of Locorotondo's appeal is how its charmingly peaceful way of life is carefully preserved. You won't find many sites here other than the church and a viewing point in the main square. However, a lack of big tourist attractions means fewer tourists, so you can really catch a glimpse of authentic Puglian life in the small town.
A few hours in Locorotondo is about wandering the quaint streets, stopping for a long lunch, enjoying the beauty of the town and savouring the true dolce vita.
If you choose to visit Locorotondo, you’ll no doubt want to explore more beautiful Puglian towns. Alberobello, another of Italy’s borghi più belli d'Italia is famous for its quirky trulli houses.
The medieval walled city of Ostuni is also close by, where you can wander the maze of arches, alleys and steps to browse boutiques and souvenir shops or if you visit on a Saturday, the wonderful market, one of the largest in the region and a real highlight for any foodies.
How to visit: Fancy a trip to explore Puglia's most beautiful towns in one go? Good Housekeeping has an unmissable trip to Puglia in April, May and October 2024, which takes in some of the Itria Valley's stunning towns.
The six-day food and archaeology-themed tour will take you to Alberobello, where you'll stay in a trullo hotel, and Locorotondo, where you'll enjoy a vineyard tour and wine tasting.
You'll also visit the intriguing town of Sassi in Matera in Basilicata, where you'll see ancient cave dwellings, grottos and natural ravines, and take a bike tour of Bari, a coastal city with grand boulevards flanking the Adriatic sea.
What's more, you'll come home with a new appreciation for Puglian cuisine, having taken part in two cookery classes run by local experts.
Looking for more inspiration for your next holiday? Browse our latest brochure packed with unique escapes.
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