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This humble Puglian town is one of the most beautiful places in Italy

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This humble Puglian town is Italy's prettiestGetty Images

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.

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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.

Whether you grab a spot on our best-selling Puglia holiday or check in to one of the best Puglia hotels, you'll want to visit this picturesque pocket of the southern Italian region.

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, bari
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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.

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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.

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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.

puglia towns
OrecchietteSviatlana Barchan - Getty Images

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.

How to visit: Fancy a trip to explore Puglia's most beautiful towns in one go? Good Housekeeping has an unmissable trip to Puglia 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.

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More beautiful towns in Puglia

If you choose to visit Locorotondo, you’ll no doubt want to explore more beautiful Puglian towns. Luckily, on a Puglia holiday you'll be absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to pretty towns and villages.

From clifftop villages perched above white-pebble beaches to medieval towns with turbulent histories, there is no lack of interesting places to visit.

Alberobello

Alberobello, another of Italy’s borghi più belli d'Italia is famous for its quirky trulli houses. These little cone-roofed houses look like something out of a fairytale. Although they can be seen dotted throughout the Itria Valley, Alberobello has the highest concentration of well-preserved trulli, with over 1,500 of them in the Rione Monti and Aja Piccola quarters.

puglia towns
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The trulli of Alberobello have been a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, and you can learn all about the history of these curious constructions on a tour of the town. And on Good Housekeeping's tour of Puglia, you'll even be able to spend a night in a trulli hotel — a truly unique, Puglian experience.

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Ostuni

The medieval walled city of Ostuni is also nearby. Here 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 central market, one of the largest in the region and a real highlight for any foodie travellers.

view of the city of ostuni during sunset, puglia , italy
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Ostuni is also known for its delicious, fragrant olive oil, made from olives grown in the surrounding hills. It's well worth visiting a traditional masseria (farmhouse estate) to sample the local produce and learn about the process of making olive oil. On Good Housekeeping's Puglia tour, you'll visit an organic olive farm near Ostuni, where you'll get to taste delicious, extra-virgin olive oil and even pick up some bottles to take home.

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Polignano a Mare

As well as its scenic rolling valleys, Puglia also boasts an exquisite coastline of white-pebble beaches lapped by turquoise waters and flanked by historic cliff-top villages. One such village is the lovely Polignano a Mare, perched on a rocky cliff overlooking the glistening Adriatic.

polignano a mare, italy october 1st, 2018 scenic view of lama monachile cala porto beach in polignano a mare, province bari, region puglia, sauthern italy
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The town has a beautiful historic centre, where you'll find picturesque medieval streets lined with historic monuments. These include the remains of the ancient city walls and the
church of Santa Maria Assunta, which houses important works by Apulian artists.

Of course, the main attraction of Polignano a Mare is its heavenly beaches. Its crowning glory is the beach of Lama Monachile, which you can reach from the town centre by crossing a Roman bridge.

Otranto

Another of Puglia's most enchanting seaside towns is elegant Otranto, Italy's easternmost town, located on the scenic coastline of the Salento peninsula. The town has a turbulent and fascinating history, having been ruled by the Byzantines, Ottomans and the French. Sitting on the site of the ancient Greek city of Hydrus, it was once used as a strategic base during the Napoleonic Wars.

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All this history has left its mark on the town's architecture. There's an impressive cathedral and an imposing castle, known as the Castello Aragonese, which was once a fortress built to defend against invaders. History buffs will love wandering the old town, which is still enclosed within its historic defensive walls.

There are some gorgeous beaches to enjoy here too, lapped by that famously blue Apulian water — perfect for a refreshing dip after a long day of exploring.

Looking for more inspiration for your next holiday? Browse our latest brochure packed with unique escapes.

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