Travellers are always searching for the unique and unusual. The southern region of Puglia in Italy is certainly one of those places. It has become a much sought-after destination not only for the many Italians who enjoy their annual summer holidays along the pristine coastline, but for the international travellers who flock to see the iconic Trulli of Alberobello.
A Personal Experience
I remember in the early seventies, during our first return visit to Italy, my wife Viny and I had the fortunate personal experience of staying in a country trullo. My aunt owned one of these strange buildings on her rural property outside Putignano in the Itria Valley. This valley is littered with trulli used by property owners at the time as storehouses or permanent dwellings. As young travellers we wanted to experience it all. Our trullo stay was memorable and, in those days, was an experience to tell our friends about. The trullo itself was very tiny and in many respects rudimentary. It had a small living area with a square table and chairs. We slept in an opening to the side of the main area which had only enough room for a bed. The opposite side had a makeshift kitchenette. Cooking was generally done outside. We were lucky we had running water! It was in the heat of summer, and we remember how cool our trullo was inside. The thick walls keep the trulli warm in winter and cool in summer.
How different it is now with many trulli in the Itria Valley transformed and retrofitted into luxury boutique accommodation and restaurants decked out with all the modern conveniences you would expect. Needless to say, they are eagerly sought after for that alternative travel experience, and we have organised many stays for our clients over the years. It is a lasting experience that we highly recommend.
Trulli of Alberobello
Alberobello in the Itria Valley is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is recognised by UNESCO because of the many traditional whitewashed drystone trulli made from local limestone topped with their characteristic conical roofs. The Trulli are a fantastic example of pre-historical building techniques which have survived over thousands of years and are still in use today. Historically, the Trulli were built only to last as temporary structures, using materials available from the area and deliberately constructed in their conical shape so they could easily be demolished. This was a way for the peasant population to avoid taxation on new settlements imposed by the ruling feudal lords.
The Rione Monti district of Alberobello is undoubtably the place to go with the largest concentration of over a thousand trulli all grouped together like beautifully arranged mushrooms. Many have been converted into cafes, bars and souvenir stores. An undeniable highlight of the Rione Monti district is the Church of Saint Anthony of Padua, a unique church made entirely in the trullo architectural style. Another notable landmark is the Trullo Sovrano; an impeccably preserved two-story Trullo which is now a small museum. It offers a fantastic walk-through experience to view how a Trullo would have been inhabited and well worth the small two-euro entry fee.
How to Get There
The town of Alberobello is reachable by local train or by car although arriving in the early morning is strongly recommended to avoid the large groups who tend to arrive generally around 10.00am. You may also wish to coincide your visit of Alberobello by also exploring nearby Locorotondo which is a small town renowned as one of the most beautiful in all of Puglia.
Vita Italian Tours have a guided visit of Alberobello and the Rione Monti district on our Spectacular South: Puglia, Abruzzo & Matera small group tour. Private chauffer drive and self-drive itineraries can also be personally tailored for individuals, couples, families and small groups wishing to stay in a Trullo and further discover this magical area of Italy.