One of the sights typically associated with southern Italy’s Puglia region is the trulli, unique stone houses with conical roofs made of limestone slabs that you see scattered around the countryside, especially in the Itria Valley. Trulli have been used for centuries but it’s not sure exactly when or why they were first built. Alberobello has the highest concentration of trulli and the Alberobello trulli zone is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
While Puglia, the heel of the boot, is still somewhat off the beaten track, the town of Alberobello is one of the most visited places in the region and the trulli zone, which is really fairly small, can be crowded. However even with the tourists, gazing over the white-washed trulli from the Belvedere Terrace, the overlook near the parking lot, is still an unforgettable sight.
A walk though the Rione Monti trulli zone, with more than 1000 trulli, lets you take a closer look at these houses, many of them still inhabited. Some have been renovated and turned into shops, restaurants, bars, or places to stay. A few bars and restaurants have a rooftop terrace from where you can get a bird’s-eye view of the trulli. Walk through to the other side of the trulli zone where you’ll come to the trulli Church of Saint Anthony, on Via Monte Pertica. There are also public restrooms nearby on this street.
Back in the Rione Aia Piccola (the upper part of town close to the parking lot), there’s a trullo museum where you can see what the inside of a trullo (singular of trulli) house looks like. Also visit the Casa Pezzolla history museum and the neoclassical Basilica of Saints Cosma and Damiano. On the edge of the historic center, near the train station, you can taste wine and visit the interesting wine museum at Cantina Albea.
- Half-day guided walking tour: Trulli of Alberobello Plus Wine Tasting. This tour can also be booked as a day trip from Bari with transportation.
- Guided walking tour plus cooking class with lunch, wine tasting, and dinner: Discovering Alberobello and Mediterranean Cuisine
Stay in a Trullo
Several trulli have been remodeled and made into hotels, B&Bs, or vacation homes. We stayed in the trulli village at Grand Hotel La Chiusa di Chietri, a hotel with rooms in trulli as well as traditional hotel rooms, a restaurant and swimming pool about 3 miles outside town.
In town, Le Alcove Luxury Resort nei Trulli, Alberobello and Trulli Holiday Resort are highly-rated properties with rooms or small apartments in trulli. Hotel Sant Antonio has economical accommodations in the former clergy accommodation of Saint Anthony Church.
Getting to Alberobello
Except for big cities along the coast, the region of Puglia is best explored by car, however it’s possible to get to Alberobello from Bari on the inexpensive private rail line, Ferrovie del Sud Est from Mondays through Saturdays in less than 1.5 hours. Taking this train is a fun way to experience Puglia and you may feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. Bari, one of Puglia’s largest cities, is on the main rail line that runs along Italy’s east coast. Bari also has an airport with flights from other parts of Italy, Europe, and the UK.
- Old Puglia: A Cultural Companion to South-Eastern Italy
- Places in Puglia: Alberobello and the Trulli Houses (for Kindle only)
- Lonely Planet: Southern Italy
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