Next week, I’m super excited to head back to Puglia. It’s one of my favorite regions in Italy, and I love spending time there (check out some of my Puglia posts from my archives). I’m heading there for a good friend’s wedding, and she’s one of the first friends I made when I moved to Rome back in 2003, so it has a significant meaning for me. You can be sure I’ll document everything. Weddings are one of my favorite things to photograph, and weddings in Southern Italy are amazing – I’m sure hers will be no different! :)
Since I’m heading back there, I wanted to share a familiar sight down in parts of Puglia, the trullo (TROOL-loh).
Trulli are traditional stone houses with conical roofs. I saw a few when I went to the Grotte di Castellana, but this time I wanted to head to one of the areas most known for them, Alberobello. Just like the Castel del Monte, the trulli of Alberobello are a World Heritage Site, but you don’t have to go there to see them. As you drive around the area, you will see trulli everywhere.
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But I didn’t want to just see one, I wanted to sleep in one.
So we rented a trullo, in the city of trulli, and set about to explore the city. We were lucky to see two different cities in the span of 2 days. When we arrived, it was during the week and our trullo was located in the the part of town where people live like normal inhabitants, and it was a bit rainy so many people stayed inside. We strolled in the quiet streets, enjoyed a great meal, and slept in a small two-room stone cottage.
Here’s our little trullo:
You can’t help but be fascinated by the trullo’s stone roof, which are rows and rows of limestone which make up the roof. They appear fragile, and as you can see here, many are not completely cemented in. Traditional trulli didn’t use any mortar or cement in construction, but they do now, as wind and cold weather would seep directly through the cracks.
The next day, we saw the touristic Alberobello. The part of town with rows and rows of trulli, and shops inside almost every one of them.
There were big tourist buses which unloaded tourists out into the streets which were ready for them with handmade goods fluttering in their windows, and offers of free tours inside to appease their curiosity. Needless to say, this was an Alberobello I didn’t want to spend too much time in. I snapped a few pictures and then set a goal to have an aperitivo in the warm afternoon. And even though there were tourists everywhere, I did find a few things to enjoy…
I enjoyed looking at the locals looking at the tourists (yes, it’s pretty meta, I realize).
A side street that was mostly empty but full of color and a little girl dancing:
And this woman who was outside crocheting when we walked by, so I felt it was a great opportunity to buy something direct from the maker (spoiler: a lot of the gifts and souvenirs in the shops are not local nor handmade). We bought that purple shawl for S’ grandmother and showed her a picture of the woman who made it, a few hundred kilometers away. Who knows if they could have even spoken to each other, as each one speaks their own local dialect so heavily (S’ grandmother will often “switch” to Italian when I’m around).
After, we moved away from the borgo dei trulli and back to the more modern part of the town.
With my eagle eye for crowds enjoying something good, I spotted a small caseificio, cheese seller, and we got some great mozzarelline to eat before sitting down to an aperitivo away from the crowds.
A good aperitivo can put a great shine on any experience. I enjoyed an Aperol spritz and soaked up the sun.
Would I go back to Alberobello? Maybe. If I did, I would definitely do what we did and stay in a trullo far away from the trullo sector of the town.
Visit Alberobello for yourself!