Alberobello, a fairy-tale landscape

Alberobello (c) Nicole Kwiatkowski/
Alberobello (c) Nicole Kwiatkowski/
Alberobello, with its characteristic alleys and historic center formed by thousands of trulli made of white lime and stone, is one of the most enchanting and iconic villages in all of Apulia.

Alberobello, a town 50 kilometers from Bari, was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 for its trulli, small circular dwellings with cone-shaped roofs, built with dry stone walls, without mortar, then plastered with white lime. The first similar constructions date back to prehistoric times, when tholos, typical vaulted buildings used to bury the dead, began to spread in Valle d’Itria. The first real trulli, however, like most of those found in Alberobello, date back to the 14th century. Born as dwellings for artisans and peasants, today most of them have been restored and used as stores, craft workshops, accommodation and restaurants.

In Alberobello we find the highest urban concentration of trulli in the region: here entire districts are made up exclusively of these charming buildings. The Monti district has more than a thousand, arranged on picturesque stone streets that branch up a slope. In this area there are the so-called “Siamese trulli“, with their original two-cone roof and the Church of Sant’Antonio, obviously trullo-shaped, with a Greek cross plan and a monumental entrance. The Aia Piccola district, south-east of the town, is instead the most authentic area of Alberobello, consisting of a network of winding alleys and small squares, which give it the appearance of a small medieval village, unchanged over time, where there are about 400 trulli. Do not miss Casa Pezzolla, a complex of several communicating trulli, which now houses the interesting Museum of the Territory.

Among the buildings that are definitely worth a visit, the incredible Trullo Sovrano, the only example of a two-storey trullo, with a majestic conical dome, about 14 meters high, which stands at the center of a group of twelve cones. Located in the northern part of the town, it was built several times between the first half of 1600 and the first half of 1700 and is the result of a process of incorporations and additions that make it the most admirable emblem of this type of architecture. Visiting it, admiring the objects preserved here, all original, climbing the ingenious masonry staircase leading to the upper floor, or cooling off in the delightful garden, in the shade of Mediterranean essences such as arbutus, laurel, lavender, rosemary, sage and jasmine, is a dip in a distant and fascinating past.