Trulli houses sit side by side in Alberobello, a quintessentually Apulian town in the very heart of Puglia, the ‘heel of the boot’ of Southern Italy. Often classed as a must-see on any trip to the region, here’s your guide to the best things to do in Alberobello, as well as travel tips, and what to know before you go.
- Where is Alberobello?
- Wjat is Alberobello known for?
- Is Alberobello worth visiting?
- Best things to do in Alberobello
- Things to know before visiting Alberobello
Where is Alberobello?
Alberobello is one of the small towns close to the city of Bari (which is served by its own international airport and offers links to the rest of Europe and beyond). Notable towns nearby include Cisternino and Locorotondo. Today, Alberobello boasts a population of just over 10,000 residents.
Wjat is Alberobello known for?
Alberobello is famous for its trulli houses (known in the singular as ‘trullo’). These unique house huts are typically one storey high and are characterised by being a whitewashed cylinder in shape which are topped by a conical roof.
The tradition of dry stone building dates back thousands of years. The trulli are considered so historically important that they’ve been classed as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1996.
Is Alberobello worth visiting?
If I were to recommend just a handful of places to visit in Puglia to someone, I’m not sure that I would put Alberobello on the list, and here’s why: the town is honestly one of the busiest places I’ve ever visited in Europe (and I currently live in central Paris, France so I’m pretty used to crowded cities).
Yes, we visited at peak season (i.e. in the middle of August), and yes, it’s probably more pleasant to visit when there are fewer visitors, but the truth is that I wasn’t as impressed by Alberobello as some of the other Apulian destinations we checked out on our road trip.
During our visit to Puglia we spent three nights in the close by town of Locorotondo which, while touristic, still feels like an authentic Italian town. The mass of souvenir shops in Alberobello and all of the tourists (including ourselves, of course!) definitely felt like an extreme example of over-tourism in Europe.
So should you visit Alberobello? Well, yes and no. If you only have a limited time in Puglia, then I would recommend skipping out on Alberobello and instead heading to Martina Franca or Locorotondo. With this being said, if you have a morning to spare, Alberobello is worth a visit, if only to admire the architecture and say you’ve been.
Best things to do in Alberobello
If you’re interested in Apulian architecture, then a visit to Trullo Sovrano. This the only two-storey trullo in Alberobello and, thanks to this status, has since become a tourist attraction in its own right.
Sovrano is quite literally translated as ‘king’ or ‘ruler’ and the Trullo Sovrano can be found in the newer district of town. Today, the Trullo is in use as a small town heritage museum which exhibits the history of Alberobello and its surrounds. The museum is very reasonably priced and costs €2 (€1,50 for concessions).
Stroll around the Rione Monti (the ‘trulli district’ of Alberobello)
Of course, there is perhaps no better way to enjoy all of the trulli of Alberobello than wandering around the town and letting your feet guide you where they may. The most historic district of the town is Rione Monti and this is where you’ll find the oldest and biggest concentration of trulli (though they can also be found scattered across the newer parts of town too).
Rione Monti boasts over 1000 trulli, many of which have been transformed into souvenir shops. The best time to explore this part of Alberobello is earlier in the day and mid-week if possible. High season is in July and August and this is when the town receives the most visitors.
Casa D’Amore (Monumento Casa D’Amore (Antonio Francesco D’Amore))
One of the most historically important buildings in Alberobello is the Casa D’Amore, which was built in 1797 and was the first house in the area to include terracotta & mortar in its façade.
The house was also the former home of Antonio Francesco D’Amore, who led an uprising against the Acquaviva family. The uprising was so significant that it led to the end of the feudal period in Alberobello.
Take a walking tour
Those who prefer to discover a place with the help of a local guide would do well to book a walking tour. Please note that most walking tours must be booked at least 10 hours ahead of when you plan to visit the town. Book a walking tour now.
One of the most unique buildings in Alberobello is the Sant’Antonio Church, which is located on the fringes of the Rione Monti district of the town. The Church of Saint Antony was constructed in 1927 and is the only church in the world to be built in the trulli style!
Basilica dei Santi Cosma e Damiano
If you’re visiting Alberobello, I can’t stress to you enough how much I recommend heading away from the ‘trulli area’ (i.e. the Rione Monti district). Away from the trulli, you’ll discover that the rest of Alberobello has its own charms which are worth discovering, not to mention that there are a number of trullo houses scattered around.
One of the most beautiful buildings in Alberobello that is not in the Apulian architectural style is the Basilica dei Santi Cosma e Damiano. This ecclesiastical building is constructed in a neo-classical design and is dedicated to the patron saints of the city.
Things to know before visiting Alberobello
One of the most important things to know about visiting Alberobello is that, thanks to the rise of social media over the past few years, the little village is more popular than ever.
It’s almost impossible to have a relaxed walk through the streets unless you arrive extremely early (or, better yet, stay over the night before). In the same vein, it’s also really hard to park in Alberobello and so I would recommend arriving as early in the day as possible so as to reduce the amount of time you’ll have to wait for parking.
There is a tourism office on the fringes of the most historic part of town, where you can get a tourist map. You’ll have to pay a nominal fee for even the simplest of tourist maps (I think we paid 50 cents,) which is not very much but it’s definitely one of the first times I’ve ever seen a tourist office charge for a map!
Due to the incredibly touristic nature of the town, my partner and I had already decided (prior to arrival) that we wouldn’t be eating in Alberobello. I would recommend making reservations in advance if you plan to have lunch or dinner in the Puglian town.
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