Torchiarolo, in the Province of Brindisi, is located 22.7 kilometres south of Brindisi, and 19.3 kilometres north-east of Lecce. It is our closest local town and is close to our two holiday villas. From Brindisi take the Super-Strada in the direction of Lecce and then take the exit for Torchiarola. Once you exit from the Super-Strada, whether you take the main roads or the agricultural roads you will be surrounded by olive groves.
Arrive in Torchiarolo at the wrong time of day and you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a ghost town. A maze of one-way streets, the houses appear to be closed up and there’s little life on the streets. But come back late in the afternoon and the streets will be full, mainly with the locals. The Torchiarolesi are generally friendly, showing polite interest in the stranieri (foreigners), resident and tourists, visiting their home town.
Scattered around the town you will find many butchers (macelleria), two fish-mongers (pescheria), many small cafe-bars, at least three supermarkets (supermercato), the pharmacy (farmacia), flower shops, where they sell calor gas cylinders (bombola) as well as flowers, and of course several bakeries (panetteria) with so much more to tempt you than bread alone. There are also restaurants, a bank, a post-office, several hairdressers, hardware stores and at least four furniture shops! Something that we have appreciated much more during 2020 when we were often unable to go further afield to shop, we have come to enjoy shopping in the smaller local shops and there is very little we can’t find close to home. I often walk or cycle into town, pick up the daily requirements, and relax with a coffee before returning home.
For the few resident ex-pats (including us) Torchiarolo is the nearest small town for day to day shopping, post etc. The shops are normally open between 9 am and 1 pm and then again from 4 pm or 5 pm to 7 pm or 8 pm. Our best advice to you is to park your car and explore Torchiarolo on foot. In common with most of the small towns in the region, the shops and facilities are not neatly lined up along one or two streets. Instead, around every corner you will find something new, a square here, a church there, an ice cream parlour in this corner, a restaurant tucked away behind the cafe-bar front.
A stroll around Torchiarolo in the late afternoon or early evening, watching the Torchiarolesi watching the world go by, is just the thing for soaking up Italian ambience. Take a cappuccino, a beer or a glass of wine and relax …..
Easter in Torchiarolo is celebrated in style. It’s not only Easter but the towns patron saints day falls in the Easter period as well. The streets are elaborately decorated with lights and on Monday evening there is a procession through the streets in the evening.
After 15+ years of living here, we feel that everyone here knows us even if we don’t know them. There are very few ex-pats living in the area, something that we like as we prefer to try and become part of local life. During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic friends, neighbours and strangers rallied around to help when needed.
You will get a real feel for Torchiarolo (and all of Puglia) small-town life if you take a few minutes to read “A day in the life of a Puglia town”.