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Art & Culture

apulia

Alberobello, the Trulli capital, a fairy tale experience

Alberobello is a fairytale place, a little gem nestled in the Itria Valley between the Apulian provinces of Bari, Brindisi and Taranto

The capital of the trulli, extraordinary testimonies of dry-stone construction with conical or pyramid-shaped roofs, will enchant you with an expanse of more than 1,500 trulli that have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1996.

The entire Itria Valley is characterised by the presence of these picturesque constructions finding their roots in the prehistoric era, but it is in Alberobello that the highest concentration of the best-preserved examples can be found.

The Mediterranean climate, excellent accommodation and unparalleled architectural harmony make this town the ideal destination for visitors in search of an atmosphere that has not been affected by the passage of time. Do you feel like setting out to discover these wonders? 

1. History and interesting facts about Alberobello

Trulli of Alberobello - Alberobello, Puglia

The history of Alberobello is not as old as one might think. The town as we can see today was founded at the end of the 14th century at the behest of the Counts of Conversano, landowners who entrusted the management of the territory to some peasants. The law of the Kingdom of Naples required the payment of a tax for every new village built and, according to some studies, the trulli are the result of a stratagem concocted to avoid paying those taxes.

The appearance of these buildings had to be deliberately precarious to give the idea of buildings that could be easily demolished in the event of an inspection. After an initial settlement of about 40 trulli, there was a major expansion in 1620. It was not until 1797 that Alberobello was freed from all tax claims and feudal servitude to the Counts by decision of Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, King of Naples. But the tradition of the trulli has never stopped.

2. What to see in Alberobello: 7 places not to be missed

Trulli of Alberobello - Puglia

The small size of the historic centre makes Alberobello easy to visit. All of the must-see sights are within walking distance and can be explored on foot, amidst picturesque alleyways and glimpses to be photographed. Here is what you can visit in Alberobello in 7 steps:

  • We start with the Sovereign Trullo located in the northern part ofof the city: it is the only two-storey trullo in the town and is furnished with original furniture from the early 20th century.

  • We then move on to Rione Monti, the largest and most famous district of Alberobello with around 1,000 trulli: here you could get lost looking for the perfect photo. Want some inspiration? Go and see the Siamese Trulli, two centrally fused cones that, according to legend, symbolise the story of love and hatred that engulfed two brothers.

  • It is the turn of the Rione Aia piccola, the smallest neighbourhood in the historic centre of Alberobello. There are around 400 trulli for residential use here. Visit it, but don't expect to find any shops or clubs.

  • Then turn to Casa Pezzolla, a complex of 15 interconnected cones housing the Museo del Territorio. Visit is free of charge. Also not to be missed is Casa D'Amore, a historic house dating from 1797, the first building constructed after Alberobello was freed from all tax claims by the King of Naples.

  • Finally, the Belvedere Santa Lucia is the city's most impressive observation point. Visit it at sunset to take dreamy photos.

3. 3 ideas on what to do in Alberobello

Despite its small size, Alberobello is a town that offers plenty of options. You can stroll and get lost in the alleys chasing smells and colours. Or, follow 3 valuable tips on what to do in Alberobello.

Many trulli can be visited inside, but only the Museo del Territorio will give you a clear example of the evolution of Alberobello's architectural culture. The two-storey bit with a tall, narrow façade surmounted by a triangular gable represents the most recent constructions. From there, you can move on to the oldest part, consisting of simple, small organisms, all in one complex of 15 interconnected trulli.

Stroll past souvenir shops and local craft workshops until you reach the top of the hill along Via Monte San Michele. The picturesque trullo church of St Anthony of Padua, unique in the world, is just what you’re looking for. It was built within 14 months in 1927 and profoundly transformed in the 1960s.

If you want to dive into the charm of Alberobello, the best thing to do in town is a tour of the trulli, perhaps with the help of a guide who will reveal secrets impossible to discover otherwise. If you prefer to walk around on your own, you can count on the kindness of the shopkeepers, who are always willing to let you admire these unusual constructions from the inside.

4. What to eat in Alberobello: 4 specialities

Trulli of Alberobello - Puglia

Strolling through the historic centre of Alberobello gives enormous satisfaction. If you want to take a break at lunchtime and treat yourself to a food experience you won't forget, you have to carefully choose your food in Alberobello:

  • we suggest you start with the delicious Apulian orecchiette pasta topped with turnip tops and salted anchovies.

  • Following with the most famous second course of the Itria Valley: the meat bombette, small pork rolls stuffed with cheese and herbs.

  • Also worth tasting are the pettole, tasty balls of leavened dough fried in hot oil. Typical of the Christmas festivities, they can also be eaten while walking.

  • Finish with fruits by tasting the barattiere, summer fruits with crisp flesh which give an immediate freshness to the palate.