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Exploring the Enchanting Trulli of Puglia's Alberobello

Discover the enchanting beauty of Alberobello in Puglia, Italy. Immerse yourself in its timeless charm, iconic trulli, and vibrant old-world culture.
A dead end street of trulli, white buildings in a townhouse style with grey roofs. Green vines climb up one house and a tree and bush are in front of another.
A cluster of trulli in Alberobello. Photo by Emily Fata.

As part of a weekend trip from Calabria to some of the most beautiful places in Basilicata and Puglia, we left the ancient city of Matera, the first leg of our trip, to go further east. The destination? Alberobello, a charming town nestled in the heart of Puglia.

(Side note, Alberobello is the name of the city. It is not a beautiful tree, as the name might suggest, that we drove over four hours to see—contrary to what my nonna thought when I told her we were going here. “You guys are going all the way to Puglia to see a tree? Why?”)

Jokes aside, I digress.

A cobblestone street lined on either side with trulli. In the foreground on the left-hand side are two women walking, their backs to the camera. One is wearing a burnt orange coloured dress and the other is wearing a short blue dress and has a purple backpack.
Me and my cousin admiring the trulli. Photo by Ornella Baffini.

To envision what it’s like to visit Alberobello, imagine wandering through a whimsical village straight out of a fairy tale. Here, the streets are lined with quaint white limestone houses topped with conical roofs fashioned from grey corbelled limestone slabs—a magical scene that seems almost unreal. They actually look like faerie houses!

There was so much to uncover, from the secrets of its iconic trulli to immersing ourselves in its timeless charm.

Alberobello’s Tale of Trulli

Alberobello is renowned for its unique architecture, characterized by the iconic trulli—small, cylindrical houses made of limestone with whitewashed walls and conical roofs. These traditional dwellings are believed to date back to the 14th century and are constructed entirely without mortar, using a technique passed down through generations. As you enter the region of Puglia, you’ll soon be able to spot these houses scattered along the countryside, some abandoned and some seemingly used as sheds or small storage units.

The closer you get to Alberobello, the more trulli you’ll see. In fact, once you’re inside the town’s historic centre, hundreds cluster together in a mesmerizing maze of alleyways and courtyards. Here, you can be completely captivated by the intricate stone carvings adorning the façades of these ancient homes (which you can see right up close); each one is a testament to the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the artisans who built them throughout the centuries.

A row of trulli with grey roofs. One in the middle has a cross painted on the roof in white.
A cross painted on one of the trullo roofs. Photo by Emily Fata.

Stepping Back in Time

As you wander through the streets of Alberobello, you'll feel as though you've stepped back in time to a bygone era. It’s a totally different feel than when you walk through a medieval town or an ancient city’s ruins, as this feels very rustic and rural. It’s a completely different side of historical Europe, one that is quaint, peaceful, and very old-world.

The town's historic centre, known as the Rione Monti, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a living museum of rural life in southern Italy. Here, you can see the way people lived in centuries gone by, including gaining a deeper understanding of what each original trullo inhabitant believed in, based on the large symbols painted in white on their roofs; this could include planetary signs, a malocchio (evil eye) to ward off evil, a cross, a heart, a star, etc.—each had it’s own meaning and symbolism to protect the house that a given family lived in.

A large, two-story trullo with several windows. There are potted plants on the sidewalk in front of it.
The exterior of Trullo Sovrano. Photo by Emily Fata.

While you’re here, look for the Trullo Sovrano, the only two-story trullo in Alberobello, which has been meticulously preserved to give visitors a glimpse into the daily life of its former inhabitants. You can find it in Piazza Sacramento, with original traditional furnishings from the 1800s still decorating the space. Imagine what life must have been like for the families who once called this enchanting dwelling ‘home’!

Hidden Gems in a Centuries-Old Town

A bowl of orecchiette pasta with cherry tomatoes, olives, and pesto.
A bowl of orecchiette pasta. Photo by Emily Fata.

In addition to its iconic trulli, Alberobello is home to a wealth of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Explore the picturesque countryside surrounding the town, where rolling hills dotted with olive groves and vineyards offer a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life (this is a particularly good idea if you’re staying in the area overnight and have more time in and around Alberobello). You can also visit a local olive oil mill or winery to sample the region's culinary specialties, from extra virgin olive oil to full-bodied red wines.

Don't forget to indulge in a traditional Apulian meal at one of Alberobello's charming trattorias, where you can savour local specialties like orecchiette pasta with tomato and ricotta sauce paired with a glass of Primitivo wine (also known as Zinfandel, as they come from a grape that is very similar, genetically). We had lunch in a restaurant found inside a trullo in the main square; it specialized in the region’s typical orecchiette pasta, and I got mine with a bunch of delicious grilled vegetables and green olives.

Cultural Treasures in Alberobello

Despite its small size, Alberobello boasts a rich cultural heritage waiting to be explored. In the Museo del Territorio, housed in a traditional trullo, you can learn more about the history and traditions of the town and its inhabitants. Inside, you’ll find many ancient artifacts on display, including tools, pottery, and household items dating back centuries. If you’re really into history like I am, this is something you won’t want to miss out on!

Arched white limestone walls inside a church. In the background is a statue of Christ on the cross.
Inside the Church of Saint Anthony of Padua. Photo by Emily Fata.

Plus, the Church of Saint Anthony of Padua (Parrocchia di Sant'Antonio da Padova) is a must-see. This is a stunning example of Baroque architecture nestled amidst the trulli—in fact, the church itself appears like a giant trullo. Inside, you can admire ornate frescoes and gilded altars that speak to the town's religious heritage. It’s absolutely breath-taking inside, and something so different and ‘fresh,’ compared to the many other Baroque churches you’ll find throughout the rest of the country.

Vibrant Markets and Festivals

While in Alberobello, there are also tons of opportunities to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the town’s bustling markets and festivals, where locals gather to celebrate their cultural heritage and traditions. Visit the weekly market in the Piazza del Mercato, where vendors sell everything from fresh produce and handmade crafts to clothing and souvenirs. Or, if you're lucky enough to visit during one of Alberobello's many festivals, such as the Feast of Saint Cosmas and Damian or the Festival of the Madonna of Loreto, you'll be treated to colourful parades, lively music, and traditional folk dances that showcase the town's unique charm and spirit.

A woman standing at the end of a trulli-lined walkway, wearing a burnt-orange coloured dress. Around her are little pumpkins resting on the roof's ledges.
Matching Alberobello's pumpkins. Photo by Vittoria Urzetta.

There are also a number of rotating art exhibits in town and different musicians entertaining in and around the town square throughout the warmer months. You don’t necessarily have to be in Alberobello during a particular event or holiday to catch these special moments!

All in All

As you explore the enchanting streets of Alberobello and immerse yourself in its rich history and culture, you'll be captivated by the town's old-world beauty and charm. Whether you're marvelling at the iconic trulli, sampling local delicacies, or wandering through vibrant markets and watching exciting festivals, Alberobello offers a truly unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after you return home. If you’re like me, you’ll be planning your next trip here before you even leave the town’s limits, thinking about what you will do when you return.

Why wait to visit this beautiful place? Whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or simply seeking a place of beautiful and traditional architecture, Alberobello has something to offer everyone.


8 comentarios

Knycx Journeying
Knycx Journeying
3 days ago

Wow, what a wonderful weekend getaway and the photos are amazing! Thanks for sharing with us and I would like to check that out and be there later this year. :) - knycx journeying

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Great Beer Now
Great Beer Now
3 days ago

The unique architecture really gets your attention. And I would bet the food is special as well.

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4 days ago

I have wanted to go to both Mantera and Alberobello for years! Lately, I've been looking at trulli on Homes To Go etc. as possible places to stay. Maybe this year???

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Olga Wefler
Olga Wefler
4 days ago

Wow, what a cute place! I had never heard about Trulli of Puglia, but I want to visit it. Thank you for sharing. 

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Richard Lowe Jr
Richard Lowe Jr
6 days ago

Looks like an interesting place and your pictures bring it to life. I may visit someday if I ever get to Italy.

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