Alberobello: finding fairyland in southern Italy

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  • April 21, 2016
Trulli, Alberobello, Puglia

Alberobello is a place worth going out of your way for.

It’s famous for the trulli – round houses with conical roofs that when seen en masse, look just like a fairy wonderland.


These buildings are specific to the Itria Valley, in Pulia.  The biggest concentration is found here in Alberobello, but they can also be found in the areas around Locorotondo, Fasano, Ostuni, Cisternino, Martina Franca and Ceglie Messapica (all quite close to Alberobello).

No wonder it’s a UNESCO world heritage site!

There are many theories behind the origin of the design. The one I like is a typically Italian one: its design was to fiddle taxes and fool the authorities. The local feudal lord, Count Acquaviva, moved his peasant workers here to clear woodland and cultivate the land. To wriggle around laws and taxes, it was important that Alberobello couldn’t be classed as an inhabited settlement. So until 1797, when Alberobello was finally given ‘town’ status, the people had to live in trulli, which could be dismantled in a hurry when necessary.

The town is divided in two: Rione Monti, which caters to tourists is really crowded, and Aia Piccola, which is mostly a residential area, and fairly empty. It’s a mystery to me why there’s a difference in tourist concentration, as they’re both beautiful. Go to both, and if you get there early go to Rione Monti first before the tour buses arrive.

Alberobello is the sort of place where you just need to wander and take it all in.

Trullo, Alberobello, Puglia

Trullo, Alberobello, Puglia

Trullo, Alberobello, Puglia

Trullo, Alberobello, Puglia

Trullo, Alberobello, Puglia

Trulli, Alberobello, Puglia

Many are inhabited, but along the way you might find a trullo shop (you’ll definitely see one, they’re everywhere)

Trullo, Alberobello, Puglia

A trullo church, Chiesa di Sant’Antonio … This one’s unusual because it’s two stories

Trullo church, Alberobello, Puglia

… and a museum or two.

This is what they look like on the inside looking up

Trullo interior, Alberobello, Puglia

Many roofs have these symbols painted on them. I hoped there were mystical meanings behind them, but they are mostly religious.

Trulli, Alberobello, Puglia

We went on a Sunday which wasn’t my smartest idea, as every man and his dog were out for Sunday lunch and a stroll. Which just meant that we missed out on having lunch at Terra Madre as it was booked out (note to self: always book ahead for Sunday lunch in Italy) but we had a delicious time at Miseriaenobilita instead (the octopus, potato, lemon and mint salad is particularly good).

We found a shop selling mini trulli, so of course we had to buy one. We put mini succulents in ours when we got back home.

Miniature trullo, Alberobello, Puglia

We visited Alberobello as a daytrip from Polignano, but out in the countryside around Alberobello you’ll find trulli you can stay in, which I think would be a lovely experience. Here’s a few from ThinkPuglia in case you’re interested.

Until next time, happy travels,

The Travelling Pantaloni

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  • Cristina says:

    I love your mini trullo with succulents! I’d try that but my trullo is really small. Great post! Cristina

    • Robyn Shatrnstein says:

      Hi ,
      Just stumbled upon your site and post …. only because II LOVE Puglia and S Italy too have I decided to write to you!!
      Well done on an amazing and informative blog.
      Only wish I would’ve found it before our trip.
      We spent just over 2 weeks in Puglia for the first time last year and are smitten! I agree, I researched forever trying to work out which town to use as bases without luck and had to decide myself . Fortunately our choices were perfect in the end .
      Seems we enjoy travelling the same way as you guys do ! I too have learnt Italian & we also live in Sydney and guess what my name is???
      Maybe one day we can meet and drool over the Bella Italia together !!

      • Robyn Hayes says:

        Hi Robyn! I hardly ever meet other Robyns!
        Where did you end up staying in Puglia? What were your favourite parts?
        Where else do you like going in Italy?
        Yes let’s meet up for sure. DM me through Insta or PM me through FB and let’s make a plan. I can talk about Italy until the cows come home!

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