Before proceeding and telling you what to see in Alberobello, I’d like to tell you about my childhood memory of this village.
When I was about 9 years old, my mother and I joined my father in one of his business trips. By car, we went down to Palermo. On the first day we drove to Bari and we stopped there for the night. The day after, we reached Calabria, took the ferry and then traveled from Messina to Palermo. But, before that, he forced us to wake up early in order to stop in Alberobello before proceeding towards Calabria.
I remember a hot summer day, a bare landscape and these amazing little white stone houses popping up in front of me. In my kid’s memory, it was a rural, almost exotic place. Women were dressed in black and they spoke a strange dialect I didn’t understand. It was so different from the city environment I was used to. There were not many tourists and the place seemed magical to me.
I came back this summer with my husband and I found a different place. I don’t know… Probably my memories as a kid were unreliable. Alberobello is not that small. Women do not dress in black. There is a modern part, other than the area where the trulli are located. I’m sorry to say I didn’t feel the same magic in the air.
The trulli really are amazing though. Not unique, because, if you travel around Itria Valley, you’ll see lots of them here and there in the countryside.
But in Alberobello there’s a true concentration of them. 1400 trulli all in one place.
! Sadly I didn’t found much info about the symbols you can see painted on the roof of some trulli. Some of them are magical, other religious, other related to planets. For example, you can notice “the pierced heart of Mary”, “Mercury”, “Jewish Candelabrum”. Also the pinnacles have different shapes. Probably a local guide will know.
Now I’ll tell you what to see in Alberobello.
What to see in Alberobello?
Belvedere Santa Lucia
This is the famous panoramic terrace where you can admire all the trulli in the hill in front of you. It is a nice view, but not as splendid as photos show, because there are some elements of disturb. I found another place where the view is slightly better in my opinion. We’ll go to that later on the post.
Just go down the staircase on the right and you’ll reach a busy street, along which there are lots of cafés, bakeries, gelaterie, etc. From that road, caled Largo Martellotta, several streets, parallel to each other, run up to the top of the hill. Every street counts many shops of all kinds.
This is the Rione Monti, the most famous and the richest in trulli (about 1000). It is also the most touristy, where no Alberobello inhabitants live. The trulli are only used as shops or as rooms for tourists. It’s just nice to go up and down the parallel streets and explore the neighbourhood. Among the highlights here you can see:
Sant’Antonio da Padova church
This church was built in the 1920s. Its interior it’s not that interesting. The exterior is… because it’s a trullo style church. Nothing to do of course with Saint Anthony Basilica in Padua.
Siamese twins trullo. The roof consists of two cones, and the trullo has two separate entrances. It is also one of the most ancient trulli, built in 1400.
According to the legend, in this trullo once lived two brothers. They both fell in love with the same girl. She was promised to the eldest, but ended up falling in love with the younger brother. The three began to live under the same roof, but the cohabitation was unbearable. So they divided the trullo in half and created a second independent door.
Now, go back to Largo Martellotta. And reach the foot of the staircase leading to Belvedere Santa Lucia.
Belvedere in via Brigata Regina
Standing at the bottom of the stairs, take the street on the right, via Brigata Regina. Soon after on the right you will see a little garden, and the sign Belvedere. I warmly suggest you to go and take a look.
Rione Aia Piccola
Proceeding along via Brigata Regina, you will start bumping into trulli. This is the Rione Aia Piccola. Here there are about 400 trulli and 1500 inhabitants. It is a rather quiet area, not touristy, where locals still live.
Museo del Territorio ex Casa Pezzola
In this Rione, you can visit the Territory Museum to learn more about the history of Alberobello and the trulli. It was once the house of the local Earl doctor. It consist of a bunch of connected trulli, recently restored. Each of them host a different section of the museum. For example…
Did you know that…
Trulli are built without mortar or cement, just using dry stone masonry. The maestri trullari shape the stones one by one. The same technique can be seen in the surrounding countryside. In fact, the fields are separated by low dry-stone walls.
Town Hall and Casa d’Amore
Not far from the museum, close to the Belvedere Santa Lucia, there’s Piazza del Popolo. Here, one in front of the other, you can see the Town Hall (1800s) and the so called Casa d’Amore… the owner’s surname was D’Amore, Of Love. Yes, some people are that lucky! Actually, this house is notable not for its name but for the height. For us it’s not impressive at all, but it must have been when it was built. It was the first 2 story house.
Basilica dei Santi Cosma e Damiano
It’s a neoclassical church, quite nice with its twin bell towers.
Built at the end of 1700, it is the only trullo with an high floor. That’s why it is call Sovereign Trullo. It is now a museum where you can see the furniture of that period. There are no in-depth explanations, so the visit is very quick.
Being very touristy, the ideal is to come here in (very) low season, or early in the morning or still during lunch time, so that less people will be around.
I think that a visit to Alberobello can’t be missed. Plus it won’t require much time. We basically saw everything into one morning, arriving quite early, and ending our tour in time for lunch.
How about you? Have you been to Alberobello? Did you feel the magic?