One day I saw a picture of some amazing small houses in Italy and I asked myself where are these beauties.
In south Italy there is a little city called Alberobello, and here you can find these interesting houses.
Well, this is how the desire to go and visit this gorgeous little town started.
Under the sunny sky, in early March, we decided to take a trip to the famous Alberobello and the charming Trulli houses.
The story of this place goes back in time, in the 15th century, when farmers were sent by a local Count to settle here, but since they had no authorization to build, they made temporary houses that could be easy to be demolished when the tax collector came.
The houses called Trulli are round stone-build houses with a pointy roof made from limestone. They are built using a prehistorical technique in which the stones are laid on top of another and no mortar is used. They had a stone that kept the balance of the house. When it had to be demolished only this stone was moved and the whole house felt apart.
Nowadays these houses became café places, souvenir shop and accommodation for tourists.
Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage site and after visiting it, you will understand why.
How to get here?
The easiest way to reach Alberobello is via Bari. There are many planes that reach international airport of Bari.
To reach Bari from the airport you have 3 possibilities:
- Bus no 16 -the cheapest way to reach the city (1 euro) and it takes about 35-40 minutes
- Express bus – it cost 4 Euro and it takes about 30 minutes.
- Light metro – leaves every 40 minutes, cost 5 Euro and it takes about 20 minutes.
You can reach Alberobello from Bari:
- by Car – Between the two cities there are 56 km, so by car, you can reach it in about 1h.
1 h parking in Alberobello is about 2 Euro in the tourist area and 0.60 Euro in other places.
- by Train – From Central Bari train Station. The trains are operated by FSE, a local transport company. The ride takes about 1h30min and costs 4.50 Euro per person (one way). The trains run almost every hour.
It is a modern train that departures at the last line.
Be sure to stamp your ticket in the machines before boarding
There’s no train connection on Sundays and public holidays. You can go by public bus instead.
- by Bus – The local transportation company FSE is also responsible for the bus connection between Bari and Alberobello. A bus ride takes about 1h30min and costs 3,90 Euro per person (one way). During the week there is one bus a day around 2.00 pm. On Sundays and public holidays, the bus replaces the train and runs more frequently. It’s good to check the bus schedule in advance.
As I said in the previous article we rented a car from the airport and went directly to Matera. Then in the evening, we took the road from Matera to Alberobello (69 km).
We arrived about 8.30 pm and went directly to our charming little Trullo house, which was better than we expected.
When to go?
Puglia boasts a wonderful Mediterranean climate that makes it an excellent holiday destination for most of the year.
The summer is long, hot and dry and lasts from the end May through to the end of September. Temperatures typically rise to around the 30°C mark in July and August, with the occasional hotter week here and there.
The winter months can be a little rainy but are generally mild, with average temperatures around the 12-15°C.
Where to stay?
The city didn’t reveal anything looking like Alberobello that we saw from the pictures. It looks like any other Italian town. It has tiny houses, painted white, small shops at street corners, narrow streets were we can see some very small Fiats running trough. This is actually where the local lived.
Once we entered the historic center and saw the multitude of whitewashed trulli houses, it was entering in another dimension. Even if we had seen pictures before, to see this with your own eyes is magical.
Two hills covered with these charming trullli houses gives an amazing view. It’s like the movie set and not a real town.
On one hill you can see the “commercial area” called Monti, where all the houses have been transformed into souvenir shops and small local museums.
Here is the only Trullo church in the world.
This area includes 1030 trulli houses including Sovrano House Museum (the largest home Trulli of Alberobello) where you can discover the history of these houses presented in details.
On the other hill called, Aja Piccola, Trulli are transformed into restaurants and hotels. This area includes 590 trulli homes and it is more authentic. It’s not so touristic so it is the best place to stay and to really enjoy the best of Alberobello.
On our trip to Alberobello, we wanted to stay in such house and we managed to rent one 2 rooms Trullo.
Alberobello means this trulli houses, so you should accommodate in one at least for one night.
We choose Trullo Antico dell Fileria
Located in the center of Alberobello, Trullo Ancient Fileria offers an exclusive accommodation with 2 bedrooms, contemporary country-style decor, and ceilings with exposed beams, stone walls and arched doorways.
It was like sleeping in a fairy-tale house.
How much you can stay?
If you are in a hurry, you can see Alberobello in one day. But if you want to really get the trulli experience, you will need more than one day.
What to do?
Everything is in a walking distance here, so it is easy to enjoy the place.
- Sleep in a Trullo
It’s probably a very touristy thing to do, but I still thing is worth it! There are plenty of agencies that rent trulli for short or long stays and it’s definitely a nice experience.
Those have all been renovating to be habitable and in some cases they are decorated inside in an ‘old’ style to recreate the original atmosphere. Some also have swimming pools and other additional comforts.
We enjoy it so much.
- Walk in Aia Piccola
You may find many Trulli located in the commercial area that have been converted into shops, restaurants or used for lodging. Despite the area being very pretty, it can also be very busy.
There are some trulli still lived in by the locals situated in my favorite area called Aia Piccola which is more quiet and very picturesque. You can’t skip it!
- Try a panino
It’s the only place in the whole of Italy where you can have Pasgualino panino. This kind of sandwich is typical of Alberobello. It was made for the first time back in 1966 from a shop owner called Pasquale.
It’s stuffed with salame, galbanino (a kind of sweet cheese), canned tuna, capers, pickled vegetables and mushrooms (the original recipe didn’t have pickled veggie and mushrooms though).
Simply walk in any ’alimentari’ and ask for a Pasqualino, they will know exactly what you are after.
I taste it and I was quite disappointed. My friends tried burrata and prosciutto which was amazing. I recommend it!
- Visit Trullo Sovrano
In the modern part of town, the 18th-century Trullo Sovrano is the only two-floor trullo, built by a wealthy priest’s family. It’s a small museum providing an insight into trullo life, with sweet, rounded rooms that include a recreated bakery, bedroom and kitchen. The interior is divided in 12 trulli, arranged around the central space of the main dome. Inside the walls there are built-in wardrobes and a masonry staircase of 23 stone steps, which allows access to the higher floor, and it was even possible to obtain a trapdoor, which was used as a secret hiding place, between the first and the second floor.
- Visit Trullo Church of St Antony
The church of Sant’Antonio, located in heart of Alberobello, is a trullo shaped church with a façade of three wings adorned with a rose window and two round windows. The dome of the church is cone shaped and measures 19.80 meters, and at the top of it a small dom
- Have a coffee in a trulli terrace
You know the expression “Coffee with a view”? Well, in Alberobello there are terraces where you pay for a coffee and get an amazing panorama. We sat on such terrace enjoying a coffee and the sun in an Italian way.
How not to love Italy!
What to eat?
Puglia region with its immense plains and rolling hills is producing much of Italy’s wine and olive oil, vast quantities of its fruit and vegetables, and most of the hard durum wheat used to make its pasta.
The hot, dry landscape is closer in look and feel to Greece, rather than Tuscany landscape. Extreme poverty, still exert a more powerful influence here than in many other parts of Italy.
Ingredients and recipes are rarely sophisticated in Italian cooking, but in Puglia they can be very simple, indeed. This being Italy, however, simple never means limited.
Puglia’s typical pasta is orecchiette (“little ears”, after their shape), but the region is home to a host of other varieties that you’ll be hard pushed to find elsewhere, including troccoli, cavatelli, stacchiodde, curti, gruessi and more. Most are made with just flour and water, eggs having once been considered a luxury.
Pasqualino panino is a sandwich typical for Alberobello.
It’s stuffed with salame, galbanino (a kind of sweet cheese), canned tuna, capers, pickled vegetables and mushrooms Can be found very simply in any ’alimentari’.
Meat is usually lamb, but horsemeat (cavallo or carne equine) is also eaten.
Butchers or street-food stalls often have an open wood-fired grill (rosticceria) where meat is cooked to go. 4.
Lots of sheep means good cheeses. The most celebrated is canestrato pugliese (after the canestri, or baskets, in which it is aged), which is often grated on pasta. Also, look out for cheeses that should be eaten fresh, preferably within 24 hours, notably burrata di Andria, fallone di Gravina, and pampanella (partly flavored by the fig leaves in which it is wrapped).
Puglia has always produced a lot of wine. In the past most of its wine was sent north, either to fortify other wines or to make vermouth. Now, though, standards are improving. Lots of sun and robust traditional grape varieties such as primitivo often make for powerful reds.
Where to eat?
It’s a must to eat in a Trullo restaurant, and you’ll probably want to try one of the most famous restaurants in Alberobello. La Cantina in downtown is one of them. But you should make a reservation, if you want to find a table. Here the kitchen is right in the middle of the restaurant, so you can look like at the whole process. The prices are reasonable (10 euros for a main dish, 5 euros a desert 1.5 euro coffee).
Another one is Casa Nova in Rione Monti. Not only looks awesome (you feel like you’re in a Hobbit house), the food is very good and tasty! Obviously, completely traditional.