Puglia: Exploring Pretty Italian Towns Ostuni, Locorotondo & Trulli houses of Alberobello

Pretty white-washed streets, miles of olive groves and upheld Italian traditions are what awaits visitors to Puglia in Southern Italy.

Pretty towns to visit in Puglia

This post gives insight into places to visit in Puglia, exploring towns Ostuni, Locorotondo and popular Alberobello; with scenic pictures, unusual traditions and typical tourist spots.

Decorative bike in Locorotondo

Chillis and garlic hanging from the walls in Alberobello

Places to visit in Puglia

Away from the hustle and bustle of big cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice, Puglia is an example of untouched Italy; rural charm as well as boasting the longest coastline of mainland Italy.

For those like me who are not so good at Geography, Puglia is located on the heel of the boot on Italy’s map.

Whilst the region of Puglia, without doubt, gives tourists an insight into true Italian culture, there is still much to discover amongst the labyrinth of white-washed streets found in many of Puglia’s picturesque towns.

Sunset over La Chiesa di Sant' Antonio

Casa Pinto Pansies window box in Locorotondo

Ostuni

 

A city in the heart of Puglia is Ostuni, otherwise known as the “white city”, where you will find age-old buildings, cobbled streets and a signature pasta to the region nicknamed ‘little ears.’

Flowers in Ostuni

Architecture of Ostuni at Night

Orecchiette 'little ears' pasta dish with fave

The white city of Ostuni is beautifully set on the cliffs of the Adriatic coast, visible by road for some miles before the city is actually reached.

*Tip* A small hire car is a must to navigate the intricate one-way streets in the centre of Ostuni, where it’s best to park up on the outskirts. Whilst, there are free spaces to parallel park, I would recommend parking in this spacious car park, located within a couple of minutes walk from central Ostuni:

 

Link to Ostuni Car Park

 

Why not park up and visit Ostuni Cathedral or the Saturday morning market, where you can purchase locally sourced vegetables, homeware and clothing.

One of the larger towns we visited on our trip, Ostuni is home to a number of luxury five-star hotels, including the Borgo Egnazia Hotel, recently named one of the best hotels in the world.

Though away from these five-star establishments, you will find villas tucked away in the Italian countryside, such as the Corte dei Massapi villa I stayed at hosted by Raro Villas & Bookings For You.

Italian countryside surrounding Corte dei Massapi villa Puglia

Locorotondo

As you drive to Locorotondo, you can’t help but be intrigued by the somewhat ancient looking town built into the cliff side. Locorotondo is an enchanting town, located around 30 mins from Ostuni and named ‘Borgi i piu belli d’Italia’ (one of the prettiest villages in Italy.)

Hillside views of Locorotondo

Chiesa Madre di San Giorgio Martire Church of Locorotondo Italy

Cliffside steps in Locorotondo

Visiting out of season like we did in March can mean the town can appear to seem somewhat deserted. And, a little eerie after seeing various ladies dressed in black and hanging from rope throughout the streets…

Locorotondo Quarandone lady puppet hanging from rope in town

Quarandone puppets

These eerie puppets are suspended high above the streets of Locorotondo on Ash Wednesday where they hang for 40 days until Easter. Representing the sins of mankind and often referred to as witches, these dolls are burned after mass on Easter Sunday. The burning of these dolls is said to symbolise joy over hardship, washing away sins and commemorate Spring over Winter.

 Locorotondo Quarandone lady puppets hanging from rope in the street

Locorotondo Quarandone lady puppets hanging from rope

Creepy doll in the streets of Locorotondo

This is a unique tradition to the area and one that attracts big crowds on Easter Sunday as the puppets are burned.

 

Pretty little Locorotondo

Being fairly quiet during our visit meant we had ample opportunity to explore some of the hidden labyrinths of streets in Locorotondo, many of which lead on to courtyards adorned with flowers and pretty little walkways where homes are proudly festooned with an assortment of trinkets.

Locorotondo pretty Italy doorway

Brightly coloured flowers adorning Puglia Southern Italy

Chair hanging from a balcony in Locorotondo

Beautiful floral doorways in Locorotondo

Not content with exploring the streets overground, we had intended on visiting nearby caves of Grotte di Castellana. Though, unfortunately, the caves were not open during our visit. It’s worth checking the opening hours on the following link to plan your visit:

Grotte di Castellana Opening Hours

 

Alberobello

A very short drive away from Locorotondo is Alberobello, one of the most popular locations for tourists visiting Puglia. The reason for the town’s notoriety is due to the large number of Trulli (circular houses with cone-shaped roofs) dotting its landscape.

View over Alberobello Puglia Southern Italy

Reminiscent of the hobbit houses found in The Shire of Hobbiton (I must visit New Zealand one day) these Trulli houses form a UNESCO World Heritage site, preserving the tradition in this area.

Hobbit holes aka trullis in Alberobello

There are many theories surrounding why these houses were built, including tax evasion but I was more intrigued by the meaning behind the symbols decorating the roofs.

Sunset setting over the trulli houses in Alberobello

Many of the Trulli houses have a painted symbol on their roofs, with some even having individual pinnacles. It’s said that these symbols have religious and astrological meanings.

Sunset over the Trulli houses in Alberobello

To my delight, Antonia who has the shop Ars Creandi spoke to me about the meanings behind the symbols, some of which have Pagan heritage. 

The spires generally have family meaning, with the symbols divided into three categories: Primitive, Christian and Zodiac.

I’ve always been fascinated by astrology, having always believed myself to be a typical Virgo. Learning about the meaning behind the symbols adorning the trulli houses really was mesmerising. 

Sunset streets of Alberobello

It was intriguing to find out more about the meaning behind the Trulli symbols as well as view the inside, now converted to house Antonia’s beautiful handmade jewellery.

Handmade trulli symbols

Unique bracelet in Ars Creandi Alberobello

Long beaded necklace from Ars Creandi Alberobello

handmade necklace from Ars Creandi Alberobello

It’s definitely worthwhile to find out more if you’re visiting Alberobello.

Exploring stone walkways and Trullo houses in Alberobello

Whilst Alberobello is one of the busier tourist spots in Puglia, don’t let that put you off as it is a must see if you’re visiting the area and there are a few pretty lanes to explore.

Take a photo & make a wish in Alberobello

Souvenir shops in Alberobello

Exploring the scenic streets of Alberobello

I even managed to make a few feline friends!

Feline Cat Friend in Alberobello Puglia Southern Italy

Feline friends in Alberobello

Black feline friend in Alberobello Puglia Southern Italy

Ginger tomcat in Alberobello Southern Italy

*Tip* Typically, Italians take a ‘pausa’ for a few hours in the afternoon, therefore it is worthwhile acclimatising to Italian life sussing out the best times to eat. I was hoping to sample some local dishes in one of the many Trulli restaurants but to my dismay, they were closed.*

Pansies adorning a restaurant in Locorotondo

These pretty towns are within easy driving distance, whether you fly into Brindisi or Bari Airport like we did.

Full of Italian charm and tradition, it’s well worth having a road trip to explore some of these hidden towns, which will really give you insight into real Italian life.

mini fiat 500 in Alberobello Puglia Southern Italy

Red Chillis dangling from a doorway in Italy

Scooter in Locorotondo Southern Italy

Palm tree view in Alberobello

We stayed at Corte dei Massapi villa in Ostuni, which was the perfect haven for our time in Italy as well as a great hub to explore some of the prettiest towns. You can read about my stay by clicking here.

Have you visited Southern Italy? Let me know below.

Jaz

xoxo

*I was invited to stay at Corte dei Massapi villa by Bookings For You & Raro Villas. Thoughts & photos (unless otherwise stated) as always are my own.*

12 Comments

  1. sonia // daring coco
    April 2, 2018 / 8:27 am

    This has to be the most picturesque Italian town ever. I’ve heard of Puglia but that is about all I know. The name. Funny how this isn’t on more people’s radar. So much beautiful architecture and character.

    Sxx
    daringcoco.com

    • thelifeofasocialbutterfly
      April 14, 2018 / 9:27 pm

      I’m really surprised it’s not more on everyone’s radar Sonia as it really is beautiful! I was so glad my first experience of Italy was seeing it untouched and rural. I could explore those whitewashed streets for days, so unique. Thanks for reading xoxo

  2. April 2, 2018 / 11:15 am

    What a beautiful place to visit! I have never been to Italy, or seen anything like this before! I’d love to one day! 🙂

    Hope you had a happy Easter! We have really enjoyed the long weekend, with beach time and family time and some long naps from the boys letting me catch up with blogging!

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • thelifeofasocialbutterfly
      April 18, 2018 / 9:15 pm

      It was my first time in Italy and I was blown away by it’s beauty. I knew I’d love the food but it was so nice to explore some traditional towns too.

      Hope you’ve had a restful week! 🙂 xoxo

    • thelifeofasocialbutterfly
      April 18, 2018 / 9:16 pm

      It was great to explore Puglia, especially as it’s less known to tourists – it really is a piece of heaven! xo

  3. April 2, 2018 / 10:51 pm

    I love all the pretty doors haha! I haven’t heard of Puglia before, but it’s so gorgeous. The architecture is simply stunning and this is going on my places-to-go list for sure

    Reine | The Blush Luxe

    • thelifeofasocialbutterfly
      April 18, 2018 / 9:20 pm

      The truly houses in Alberobello were amazing to see, I’d definitely recommend visiting if you go to Puglia. xoxo

  4. April 8, 2018 / 7:16 pm

    wow imagine if you didn’t know about the tradition, and you just looked up to see an eerie puppet staring at you haha! The architecture is really nice and picturesque though x

    Velvet Blush

    • thelifeofasocialbutterfly
      April 18, 2018 / 9:22 pm

      That’s exactly what happened to us! We thought what the heck are these dolls! Some of them did look pretty scary too! xoxo

    • thelifeofasocialbutterfly
      April 18, 2018 / 9:24 pm

      I’m so glad I finally got the chance to go! I’d love to visit Florence, Tuscany, Venice, Rome and Sicily too! Basically, all of Italy. Let me know if you have any recommendations 🙂 xoxo

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