Alberobello is a small town in Southern Italy in the region of Puglia, with a population of about 10,000 people, and it looks like a town from a fairytale.
Puglia is a region that tourists tend to miss, and Italians visit some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. Located in the heel of the boot Puglia is rich in history, moves a bit slower than the rest of the world, and has quaint small towns and some of the best food I tasted in Italy.
Alberobello is one of the more famous towns in that region as it's the home to the most extensive collection of trulli that have been around for centuries. The trulli are small white-washed huts with gorgeous conical roofs.
Alberobello was made a Unesco World Heritage site in 1996; its description is below.
The trulli, limestone dwellings found in the southern region of Puglia, are remarkable examples of drywall (mortarless) construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region.
The trulli are made of roughly worked limestone boulders collected from neighboring fields. They feature pyramidal, domed or conical roofs built up of corbelled limestone slabs.
Who Made the Trulli?
No one is quite sure how this type of house came to be, but one legend says the trulli came about sometime in the 14th to 15th century to avoid high taxation on homes. The local Count, not wanting to pay taxes to the King of Naples, had people build the tiny homes without morter to be taken apart quickly if there was a royal inspection.
It was a slightly mad idea because it took them around six months to re-build each one as the stones were held in place by lateral opposition and gravity.
The beautiful part of the trulli is their conical decorative roofs, many of which have white symbols painted on them. The symbols were painted on the roofs to ward off demons and bring good luck to the inhabitants.
Their origin is unknown, but they usually have a religious or astrological meaning. The symbols are linked to different traditions of magical pagan, Christian origins, or the primitive world. Symbols may include planetary signs, the malocchi (evil eye), the cross, a heart, a start, and others.
Several thousand trulli are dotted around the Itria Valley, still used today as homes, on farms for storage, and luxury holiday villas. Most of the trulli are in the town of Alberobello, and some even date back to the 14th century.
I visited the region in January 2022 and was surprised by how many tourists were visiting Alberobello. I heard that during the summer months, it is completely packed, so try to plan your trip in the offseason.
Alberobello has two areas; the very touristy part is the Rione Monti, where lovely small shops and restaurants can be found.
The locals are known for their textiles artistry; look for handwoven linen bedlinen, table cloths & runners, bathrobes, scarves, etc. You can find some unique gifts to bring home.
Puglia is also famed for its ceramics, and you will find many shops selling locally made and hand-painted pottery, jugs, and dishes. Some hand-painted with a rooster and a blue flower symbolizes fertility, richness, and long life.
For a more quiet authentic feeling, walk to Aia Piccola, where you will find about 400 trulli; it's less crowded and has more private homes in this area. It is lovely to walk through the quiet winding streets, admire the different houses, and see some awe-inspiring views of the town below.
Make sure to visit Trullo Sovrano, the largest of all the trulli. It is the only two-story trulli built in the 18th century. It now houses a small museum complete with furnished bedrooms, a kitchen, and a dining area, to recreate what it would have looked like in the past.
Arbelobello is Touristy
Alberobello is very touristy, and you can see that is where most of the locals earn an income. I would usually tell people with high sensitivity to avoid anything too touristy.
Still, in this case, it is a lovely place to visit as you will not see structures like the trulli anywhere else.
Try not to travel during the summer months as that is when it will overflow with tourists.
I recommend spending half a day there to see everything; you don't need any more time than that. To avoid crowds, arrive before 9 am or in the late afternoon.
Although you can book to stay in a trulli, I would not recommend it mainly because it's a tourist destination. Chose one of the smaller towns a short drive away.
Where We Stayed near Alberobello
Ostuni, Puglia 72017
How to Get There
& When to Go
Fly into Bari and hire a car or catch a train to Alberobello.
Use the national rail line to get to Bari, the capital of Puglia. On arrival in Bari, change to a private rail line, Ferrovie Appulo Lucane, that runs every day except Sundays and holidays.
Private trains do not leave Bari station; they depart from a smaller station next door. Leave Bari train station. Once outside, look left and see the entrance of Ferrovie Appulo Lucane; buy a ticket in person. You can get to Alberobello by train from Bari, Brindisi, Lecce and Martina Franca. Alberobello's train station is a ten-minute walk from downtown.
The best way to travel around Puglia is by car. There is plenty of parking on the edge of Alberobello near Rione Monti but try to get there early as they fill up quickly.
Best Time to Visit
Offseason, Spring, and Fall are the best times. I visited in January, and it was a little too cold.
Italian, although each region has its dialect.
Cash | Cards
Most places accept credit cards but always carry cash. Shops in smaller cities, some car parks, and most parking meters only take cash. Use Visa or Mastercard with no foreign transaction fees in Italy.
Discover, Diners Club and American Express are not commonly accepted. ATMs are the best way to get cash.
The standard voltage in Europe is 230 V; buy a travel adapter before leaving the US.
113 Italian National Polizia
115 Italian Fire Brigade
118 Health Emergencies
EU Emergency Number
Dialing 112 from any country in the European Union will connect you to emergency services, such as police, fire, and ambulance services. Dialing 112 is free; you can dial from any mobile phone, landline, or payphone.
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