Алберобело / Alberobello

The charming and wayward Southern Italy! A place like no other in the country… The area is rich in sights and beautiful seascapes to fill the tourist program of its visitors. But… the most preferred destination is Alberobello! Captivates the fantasies of travelers with its fabulous architecture, which can’t be seen anywhere else in the world…

Where is located

The small village is located in the southern part of the Puglia region… Exactly on the “heel of the boot”, as they liken the shape of Italy. It is located in the province of Bari, and the town of the same name is only 56 km away. Another major city nearby is Taranto (45 km). Nearby are some of the most beautiful places in the area – Locorotondo, Martina Franca, Ostuni and Polignano a Mare!

Where to stay

Alberobello goes around quickly, but the night in it is worth it… In the evening its appearance is completely different… you will see! And why not spend the night in a trullo? Yeah, trullo… the local houses, for which I will tell you after a while…

Our trullo was next to the ring road, just outside the central part – Il Trullo della Selva. And yet, the main sights can be reached in just 10 minutes. I chose it because of the possibility for parking and the huge yard! We had a whole Trullian mansion! It was very cozy and tidy inside. We had a living room, a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. Our hosts had left a small compliment for welcome. I totally recommend the place for a full stay in Alberobello!

Fast eating

We arrive early in the afternoon and need a quick bite to recharge our batteries before touring Alberobello. We immediately head to La Lira Focacceria. To get there we pass through the tourist district of Monti and despite the oncoming hunger, there’s no way I can’t take a few quick shots.

Arriving at the small and unobtrusive entrance to La Lira, one can hardly expect the most delicious focaccia in Alberobello! Don’t judge by the half-empty shop window… It is because Giuseppe (the owner) produces most things directly on site. No wonder you get lost among the abundance of specialties… from traditional focaccia, through Focapizza (mix between focaccia and pizza), Provatella (French baked dish with cheese and mortadella), Pucce (the traditional and most famous sandwich in Puglia) and many others… The best option is to leave yourself in the hands of Giuseppe and trust him blindly! But I kept trying the traditional focaccia. I also added the limited version of Moretti beer for Puglia and a perfect combination was obtained…

The view from the terrace of Santa Lucia

Satisfied and full, we slam the door of the small bakery behind us and start climbing the opposite stairs… There is the Santa Lucia Terrace, which reveals the most beautiful views of the fabulous trulli. We are looking for the perfect place for photos to the gray conical roofs of the opposite district of Monti… There are located the most of the charming buildings… around 1000!

In fact, the name Alberobello means “beautiful tree” (Arboris Belli). In view of the opposite landscape… a little strange name. But according to local legend, once upon a time there were vast oak forests.

A little from the new part

Alberobello is a small town in the Itria Valley and has a local population of about 11,000. Some of them still live in trulli, and the largest inhabited neighborhood (with about 500 of the strange cottages) is Aia Piccolo. Since 1996, Alberobello has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which instantly attracts interest in it. The tourist flow increases dramatically and the opposite district Monti becomes the most touristy place, with many souvenir shops and local delicacies, small bakeries (like the one we were in), gelaterias, restaurants and other interesting places. We can’t wait to go to see it, but before that we will take a look at the unpretentious new part in Alberobello.

Piazza del Popolo is the center of the city. Here is the town – hall, right next to the perfectly aligned tree crowns. Opposite it is one of the most famous buildings in Alberobello – Casa D’Amore. No, it’s not a house of love, it has nothing to do with the Valentine’s Day decorations we found in town. Built in 1797 by Francesco d’Amore, it is the first two-storey building and the first mortar building, a symbol of Alberobello’s recognition as a legitimate city.

Monti area and the trulli

It’s time to tell you more about these weird facilities! They are made of dry stone masonry, without cement or mortar! The artisan of trulli formed the limestone stones one by one to build a solid foundation. And the charm comes from the conical roof, which gives the Trulli irresistible look… Tightly arranged limestone slabs do not allow rainwater to enter the building and take it out of the walls. Remarkable medieval construction that cannot be seen anywhere else except in the valley around Alberobello!

The interesting cottages are of mysterious origin and unknown age and reason for creation… The main theory of their origin is rooted in the ingenuity of the inhabitants of Puglia in the XV century, who were forbidden to build permanent homes so that the king could move them to different areas for cultivation. Thus was born the idea of houses made of unbonded stones, which could be easily dismantled when they had to be moved.

Another common version is that the buildings were a cunning move to avoid the taxes imposed on the completed buildings in those years. Locals could easily turn their homes unfinished by removing the roof during the inspections and then quickly build again it…

Wandering the crowded with trulli streets of the Monti district is the best thing to do in Alberobello. Its streets are strangely deserted, even for February! Exactly this month the place acquires the most romantic look possible! Many decorations with hearts and lights are located everywhere, and its name is changed to AlbeLOVEbello! The perfect walk – to wander through the narrow streets, to find a dead end road and some extremely photogenic place…

Souvenirs and delicacies

As I mentioned before, most of the trulli have been converted for commercial purposes. The small shops are great, and some of them have panoramic terraces, which were closed in the slightly rainy evening… A huge variety of liqueurs, various olive oils and antipasti is also on display on the streets, which attract the attention of tourists and make them peek inside… Ceramic vessels, great little figures of trulli and a bunch of food from Puglia. Small shops are a real pleasure!

The Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian and Trullo Sovrano

It’s getting dark and it’s time to see some more of the new part and two of the main sights there. We cross the center, where lavish decorations and projections of central buildings clearly suggest that Alberobello is the capital of love! We take the main boulevard Vittorio Emanuele, which is the main commercial artery in the town.

We can’t miss from afar the high towers of the basilica, named after the patrons of the city – the holy brothers Cosmas and Damian. The facade is very interesting and quite different from the surrounding interior in Alberobello. Notice the bell towers – one has a clock on it and the other has a sun disk.

We come to what was built in the 18th century trullo Sovrano – the only two-storey trullo! Today it is a museum and gives tourists the opportunity to experience real life in the typical Alberobello buildings. The facility is extremely impressive, especially with its roof, whose dome reaches 14 m! Over the years, the place has been both a private home and a host of many important events for the city. Since 1930 it has been declared a national cultural monument! The entrance to the museum is 2 euro, but it was closed and we only saw it from the outside.

Night view from the Santa Lucia terrace

We can’t miss to stop again for a few shots of the Belvedere in Alberobello. It’s as if the trulli come to life before our eyes, bathed in many different colors! Completely different view from what we saw during the day! And we can’t wait to sneak through the streets of the tourist district again for a shock dose of a romantic walk under the night sky…

Alberobello with a breath of love

A rain of hearts rained over Alberobello and thousands of them remained over the heads of the visitors… The evening is even more impressive! And the deserted streets make us feel like in a romantic movie that we want not to end… In 2019, for the first time, a joint project was launched between the municipality and the energy company that takes care of the town. The goal is to make Alberobello an attractive place for any time of the year. Thus, for about 1 month around Valentine’s Day, the streets with whitewashed trulli become the capital of love!

Dinner time

For dinner I had chosen a location close to our stay place and one of the most interesting pizzerias in Alberobello – Pizzeria Basilico Rosso. Once again we encountered the empty restaurants around 20:00… Italians don’t like to dine early and that’s… Prices are normal, around 10 euro for pizza. There is also a 1.5 euro coperto (fee for sitting in the restaurant) per person. The menu presents many interesting flavors that are hard to find somewhere… I stopped at Cacio & Pepe with cheese fondue, smoked meat and asparagus… great combination!

Fresh morning and the trullo church of St. Antonio

The morning in Alberobello was fresh, slightly humid and with the beginnings of an upcoming sunny day! Encouraging… in view of yesterday’s rain. It is extremely invigorating to wake up in the trullo, to open the small front door and to feel the aroma of the wet grass and the space of the huge yard… We have breakfast included for the night, which is served in the center and that is why we will make one last tour!

Before we get there we stop at the church of Sant’Antonio di Padova. And while the interior isn’t impressive, the exterior is! It is no coincidence that it is called the “Trullo” church because it is in the shape of a trullo!

Breakfast and last walk

The clouds are still hanging over the conical roofs of the houses, but I am optimistic that after the invigorating coffee we will be able to enjoy a little sun in Puglia… A few shots from the wet streets until we reach L’Altro Caffè, where we got fresh croissants and fragrant coffee for breakfast in Italian.

Finally we saw the southern Italian rays! We take another quick walk before heading to Locorotondo. It’s as if we wandered around another place the day before… The streets are deserted again, but we discover new obscure places and beautiful houses. So we find ourselves next to the magic shop  Il pozzo illuminato Alberobello, which was closed, but captivated us with its exterior decoration.

We wander a little more through the deserted streets of Alberobello… We need some souvenirs and to our pleasant surprise, the terraces closed yesterday… are open today! We don’t wait for a second invitation and immediately climb the narrow stairs…

Are you wondering what are they the weird signs are on the roofs of trulli? There isn’t exact answer and the theories about the symbols are heterogeneous. According to some, they are for the protection of the inhabitants from evil forces, according to others, they were painted before Mussolini’s expected visit to Alberobello to make the town look more mystical… There are religious, planets-related, pagan and other symbols. Obviously, and the final figure for finishing the roof is not strictly fixed, because there is a great variety of shapes… A close look at the tops of the trulli gives a completely different feeling for these strange buildings…

For a final

Alberobello is magic! A place unique and only in the whole world… There is a lot of mystery in it… How did these buildings limit themselves to the region of Itria and where did they come from? Why aren’t they anywhere in the world? Questions to which we are unlikely to learn the answers. Walking through it is a great experience, and during the month of love it is something special…