The land of Puglia, in summer, gives the visitor clear days and intense sun. In the evening, the towns on the heights of the Valle d’Itria are characterized by a pleasant breeze: ideal for a walk in these ancient villages.

We go up to Locorotondo, 410 meters above sea level. I’ll tell you two things that make this country unique: first of all, the name derives from the Latin locus rotondus, (literally «round place ») to indicate the singular plant of this village. From the 12th century on, the external houses of the town were in fact arranged in a round shape. The dazzling white, which covers them, is an ancient method used throughout the Mediterranean area to reflect sunlight and reduce heat accumulation.

In addition, the roofs of the houses of this Apulian small town have a unique shape, they are called cummerse and have two very steep slopes. Why this strange shape, which seems to come from North European architecture, over 3,000 kilometers away? The high hill where Locorotondo is located was a strategic position for the development of the country, easy to defend in case of attack by Saracen pirates. But on this high hill of the Valle d’Itria there were no water reserves. So, the so markedly sloping shape of the roofs served to facilitate the collection of rainwater, which was then accumulated in vast cisterns dug into the rock. Often history of peoples is written in their villages!

Marco Negro