What to see in Alberobello: a short guide to the Capital of Trulli
Alberobello, in Puglia, with its Trulli is one of the 54 Italian sites included by UNESCO in the World Heritage List. It represents a unique place in the world and it is impossible not to be fascinated and struck by its scenographic impact. Walking in Alberobello’s narrow roads is like being immersed in a fairy tale, for this reason is a place loved by everyone: adults and children.
Since 1996, UNESCO has declared Alberobello and its Trulli a World Heritage Site. Although there are Trulli in a much larger area of Puglia, Alberobello is the only town that has a historic center consisting of Trulli: you can count 1500 of them spread in all town!
WHAT ARE TRULLI?
Trulli are dry stone constructions, built directly on the rock, without foundations, with roughly worked stone blocks resting on each other, without lime to fix them together and covered by a conical structure of small slabs of gray limestone.
WHY ALBEROBELLO WAS BUILT WITH TRULLI?
At the end of the XV century, Alberobello passed under the County of Conversano who required that the Trulli be erected dry according to the interlocking stone technique. The aim of the count was to be able to demolish them quickly in case of inspection by the emissaries of the Kingdom of Naples, in order to not to pay taxes on housing. So Alberobello was an abusive village until 1797 when the 3500 inhabitants rebelled against the feudal yoke.
The symbols on the Trulli’s cones have always aroused great curiosity. They are hand-drawn and with lime. They have different origins and inspiration: Judaism, zodiacal and astral elements, Christianity, paganism.
WHAT TO SEE IN ALBEROBELLO?
One day is enough to visit the town. Here’s what to see in one day in Alberobello.
The most popular Trulli districts of Alberobello are Rione Monti and Rione Aia Piccola.
Sant’Antonio Church stands on the extreme appendage of Rione Monti. The building itself is simple, but the peculiarity lies in its Trullo shape!
One of the most extraordinary buildings of Alberobello is Trullo Sovrano, built at the end of the XVIII century. The name emphasizes that at the time it was the only Trullo with a raised floor. The dome is 14 meters high, an extraordinary measure for a dry construction. The interior consists of 12 small cones and a stone staircase to access the upper floor. The dome is supported by four mighty arches, while the walls conceal wall cupboards and lockers. The Trullo Sovrano is a national monument since 1930.
Behind the Trullo Sovrano stands the SS. Medici Cosma and Damiano Church. The cathedral dedicated to the patron saints of the town was born on the ruins of an older church and has undergone numerous renovations.
Another point of interest is the Casa D’Amore, one of the first buildings in the town. Its peculiarity is a balcony framed by an arch. The house is named after the owner Francesco D’Amore who built the house in the 18th century to celebrate the victorious rebellion of the inhabitants against feudal tyranny. The house was erected on August 1, 1797 with materials until then forbidden: lime and mortar. In the plaque affixed to the facade we read in Latin: “By directing resolution this house was the first one built in lime”.
Among the things to visit in Alberobello there is also the Museo del Territorio. It is a complex of 15 contiguous and communicating Trulli of different sizes and styles. The museum was born precisely to preserve and pass on the history of Trulli. Inside the museum, a multi-lingual guided tour will take you to the discovery of artistic testimonies, historical-educational documents, artifacts and memorabilia.
The last destination not to be missed is the Belvedere terrace, next to the church of Santa Lucia: from this elevated position it is possible to admire the entire Rione Monti, a unique panorama that will remain etched forever in your mind.