You’ve probably seen this place on the Internet at least once. And maybe you even know what a mysterious town Alberobello is. Anyway, now I’ll tell you everything in order!
On the coast of the Adriatic Sea in the very south of Italy, is the small fairy-tale town of Alberobello. The name of the town comes from the Latin words “arbor” and “bellum”, which translate as “tree” and “war”. A long time ago, oak groves grew on the site of this town, used for the production of powerful military equipment.
But it was not the military equipment that brought fame to the city, of course, but the unique white stone houses – trulli.
The trulli are small houses with conical roofs (in Greek trulli means dome ( τρούλος)). Such buildings are not found anywhere else in the world and therefore for their uniqueness were included in the list of cultural heritage of UNESCO in 1996.
Why do the trulls have this shape and what is unique about them? It’s all about taxes! It was possible to destroy such structures quickly and easily. A special stone laid in the base was used for this purpose. When it was taken away, the house was turned into a pile of stones, for which there was no need to pay tax! Taxes were not small even then.)
The royal tax collectors would be notified well in advance and by the time they arrived, the town was no more. Because of this, for a long time, the peasants had to rebuild a roof over their heads each time. In 1797 King Ferdinand of the Bourbon dynasty granted the town of Alberobello freedom and tax exemption. After that, some did begin to erect their houses using mortar. But most residents were still able to fully believe in the gift of freedom, because the king at any time and could cancel his decree. Classic houses with domed roofs continued to appear until 1925. After this date the Italian authorities issued a law banning the construction of trulli. It is valid in our time. It means that you can only reconstruct existing buildings and never build new ones.
The trulli tax was officially abolished only in 1979. Today almost all trulli are privately owned. Therefore, they are both sold and bought. The price will depend on the location and, of course, the condition of the building.
Alberobello stands on two hills. The eastern one occupies a modern city with new architecture. The main street of this part of town is Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Passing through the center of the city, it meets Piazza del Popolo. And the second is the western hill. It is almost entirely occupied by neighborhoods with trulli buildings. One of the most popular among them is Rione Monti. There are about a thousand different trulli. Walking along Via Monte Michele past the commercial town center, you can see the Chiesa di Sant’Antonio church, dating back to the 12th century and built in the trulli style.
I highly recommend coming to Alberobello in the morning, and the earlier the better. We got here around 7 and that’s why there are almost no people or bright contrasting sun in the pictures.
At 12 o’clock we were on our way to lunch in Masseria Catucci, which is not far from the city. By the way, I told you about it here: Masseria Catucci Agriturismo and Masseria Narducci. But be sure to find out the opening hours of the restaurants! We had to wait another hour for the opening, but it was a wonderful hour in Masseria!
How to get here?
The closest major city from which you can get to Alberobello is Bari. From there the train leaves from the train station. It runs every hour and costs about 5 €. You can buy a train ticket in advance online or on the spot. The travel time will take about 1.5-2 hours. From the arrival station you can walk to the center of the old town in 15 minutes.
But of course the ideal option is a car (actually, as we did).
It is easy to get by car from any city: Conversano, Costellana, Locorotondo, Martina Franca. The road will be interesting, and at the same time you can explore the neighboring towns and most importantly visit the Masseria! We drove from Castellana Grotte on the SS172 (Strada Statale 172 dei Trulli).
(There are legends about the public buses in Puglia) In general, they are very few and run very rarely! Therefore, I wouldn’t count on this mode of transport!
Hotels in Alberobello
If you decide to stay in Alberobello itself or nearby, here are a couple of tips and interesting options!
By the way, not so long ago I published an article: Italy: TOP 10 Masseria Hotels in Puglia! Where I just talk about interesting hotels!
One of the most beautiful options is the famous Masseria Ottolire Resort! Located just 14 km from the center of Alberobello! Price around 100-120 € per night (depending on time of year)!
Here’s an interesting version of the trullo: Il Trullo della Massaia!
Alberobello is beautiful! And if you don’t know where else to go for a summer vacation, go to Puglia! It’s a beautiful region with unique architecture and traditions!