If you are looking for a unique and charming destination for your next trip to Italy, you cannot miss Locorotondo, one of the pearls of the Itria Valley, in Puglia.
Locorotondo is an ancient and picturesque village, surrounded by a lovely landscape of olive trees, vineyards and trulli. But the feature that makes Locorotondo really special are its cummerse, the typical houses with sloping roofs that overlook the white streets of the historic center. In this article we will tell you about the history, culture and beauty of Locorotondo, the city of cummerse.
What are “cummerse”
Cummerse are rectangular houses with a gabled roof made of chiancarelle, slabs of limestone that are rich in the subsoil of the area. The name cummersa comes from Latin “cum vertice”, which means “with the peak”, to indicate the sharp shape of the roof.
Cummerse date back to 1300 AD, a period that precedes even the birth of trulli, the other typical dwellings of the Itria Valley. Unlike trulli, which were born as deposits or temporary shelters, cummerse were born already for residential use. Cummerse developed on two levels, with very steep stairs inside. The sloping roof served for collecting rainwater, which slid towards the side gutters. Many cummerse are still inhabited by private individuals, others have been transformed into accommodation facilities or shops and craft shops.
The history of Locorotondo
Locorotondo has very ancient origins, although the first written testimonies date back to the 12th century, when the village was surrounded by high walls of protection. The name Locorotondo comes from Latin “locus rotundus”, which means “round place”, to indicate the circular shape of the town.
The history of Locorotondo was marked by different dominations: first Byzantine, then Norman, then by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem and finally Aragonese. In 1790 Locorotondo obtained administrative autonomy from the Benedictine monastery of Monopoli, to which it had been subjected for centuries. In 1807 the castle that stood in the center of the village was destroyed, as a sign of rebellion against the dukes Caracciolo di Martina Franca, who had oppressed the population with excessive taxes and torture in prisons.
The history of Locorotondo was also linked to the cult of San Rocco, who freed the country from the plague in the seventeenth century and was proclaimed patron saint of the city.
The beauties of Locorotondo
Locorotondo is a village to discover on foot, walking through its white streets and admiring its religious and civil architectures.
Among the most important churches are the Mother Church of San Giorgio Martire, built between 1790 and 1825 in neoclassical style, with a facade adorned with a relief of San Giorgio with the dragon and two statues of Saints Peter and Paul; the Church of Madonna della Greca, built in 1481 in Romanesque-Gothic style, with a gabled facade and an ogival portal; the Church of Sant’Anna, dating back to 1580, with a baroque facade and a sail bell tower; the Church of the Holy Spirit, erected in 1634, with a stone facade and a Renaissance portal; the Church of San Rocco, built in 1540, with a simple facade and a single nave interior.
Among the civil architectures stand out the Palazzo Morelli, the seat of the municipality, with a civic tower that houses a clock and a bell; the Town Hall, built in 1863 in neoclassical style, with a facade decorated by four Ionic columns and a central balcony; the Trullo Marziolla, an example of a rural trullo from the 18th century, located in the homonymous hamlet.
What to do and what to eat in Locorotondo
Locorotondo offers its visitors different opportunities for fun and taste. Among the activities to do there are hiking or biking among the trulli and farms of the Itria Valley, visiting the Museum of the Territory “Casa Pezzolla”, which tells the history and culture of the area through objects, photos and documents, participating in festivals and festivals that animate the village during the year, such as the Feast of San Rocco on August 16th, the Feast of San Giorgio on April 23rd, the Festival of N’dunderi (ricotta dumplings) in July and the Festival of New Wine in November.
Among the gastronomic specialties to taste there are typical products of Pugliese cuisine, such as orecchiette with turnip tops, cavatelli with braciole sauce, taralli, panzerotti, focaccia, fresh and aged cheeses, vegetables in oil and vinegar, sweets based on almonds and honey. Do not miss the white DOC Locorotondo wine, obtained from verdeca, bianco d’Alessano and fiano minutolo grapes.
Wandering through the streets and following its round shape, Locorotondo will make you savor the air, vitality and gastronomy of Puglia. Get lost in its streets and if you happen to buy some typical souvenir of the area like the Pugliese pumo: a ceramic rose bud that refers to the family that is born and grows, a good omen for future events; a symbol of regeneration, fertility and wealth. It will decorate your home with elegance and simplicity and every time it will remind you of the good moments spent in Puglia.
One last tip is to stop at Pizzeria Casa Pinto. After exploring the town far and wide and having maybe lunch with local delights, in the evening let yourself be conquered by this pizzeria with wooden tables scattered along the wonderful white stone street. A pizza that will certainly win you over.
Locorotondo is located in the province of Bari, about 70 km from the capital city. To reach it you can use your car, taking the A14 Bologna-Taranto motorway until exit Bari Nord and then following state road 16 Adriatica until exit for Locorotondo. You can also use train, getting off at Locorotondo station which is located on Bari-Taranto line of Ferrovie Sud Est. You can finally use plane landing at Bari-Palese airport which is about 80 km from Locorotondo and then taking a bus or taxi to reach village.
Tourism website: https://turismo.puglia.it/bari/locorotondo/
Town website: http://www.comune.locorotondo.ba.it/comune-di-locorotondo