Alberobello is a small city famous for its trulli: small round buildings with conical roofs made of stone. Stroll the hilly maze of streets, shop for souvenirs, enjoy the view across the rooftop terraces, and fill your camera’s memory card with photos of this enchanting town, these are just a few of the wonderful things to do in Alberobello.
A trullo is a round building topped with a conical roof made of limestone tiles. Trulli can be found throughout the Itrian Valley in Italy, but the densest population of trulli is in Alberobello. Trulli were originally constructed as temporary field sheds. They could be dismantled quickly, to avoid taxation when the tax inspectors came to the area. In the 19th century, the trulli were no longer being dismantled and most of the trulli date back to the 19th and 20th century. To build a trullo, the rock on the floor of the house is excavated, forming a cistern. A limestone floor is constructed over the cistern. The masonry walls are made of limestone blocks and built as a circular structure. This is topped by the conical roof, which is made of large limestone bricks (cannele) and an outer layer of smaller, gray-colored, limestone tiles (chiancarelle). On top of the trullo sits a pinnacle, the white ornament that sits on top of the conical roof. Some buildings have shapes drawn on the roof, which can be a primitive symbol, a Christian symbol, or a magical symbol.
Within Alberobello, there are two main groups of trulli. Rione Monti is the larger, more touristy area where you can see more than a thousand trulli. Rione Aia Piccola is a smaller area that is quieter, and less touristy. Alberobello was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1996.
In Rione Monti, more than a thousand trulli line the hilly streets and alleyways.
TRULLO SIAMESE: Continuing uphill on Via Monte Nero, the road will make a sharp bend to the right. On that bend is Trullo Siamese (labeled on Google Maps as Trullo Siamese monumento negozio souvenir). Trullo Siamese is the only trullo that has two joined domes, and two entrances, hence the name. If it is open, it is possible to look inside (free entrance).
ROOFTOP TERRACE VIEW: At the end of Via Monte Nero (where the short wall on your left ends) you will reach a junction of streets. On the right, there is a shop that has a rooftop terrace called Maffei Sgobba Group on Google Maps. This is an amazing rooftop view in Alberobello. You will have to purchase a small souvenir, spending a few euros, to access the rooftop terrace.
SMALLEST TRULLO OF ALBEROBELLO: When you exit the shop, walk out the door and straight up the street in front of you, which is Via Monte S. Gabriele. Make your first right turn onto Via Duca D’Aosta. The last trullo on your left, at the end of Via Duca D’Aosta, is The Smallest Trullo of Alberobello (Il Trullo Più Piccolo di Alberobello), which is now a souvenir shop.
BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPHY SPOT OF THE TRULLI: Continuing on Via Monte Michele beyond Bar “Rione Monti” di Palmisano Caterina, look for the set of trulli with symbols painted on their roofs. This is one of best photography spots in Alberobello.
CHURCH OF SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA: Continue on the same road and in the same direction until you reach the end of the road (it’s just a 1 to 2-minute walk). At the end of the road, the Church of Saint Anthony of Padua (Parrocchia Sant’Antonio di Padova), a trullo church, will be on your left.
ALBEROBELLO IN MINIATURE: Just beyond The Smallest Trullo of Alberobello, on Via Monte S. Michele, look for a shop on the right called Alberobello in Miniature (it is called Annese Orazio on Google Maps). Inside of this shop, you will see an awesome miniature recreation of Rione Monti.
ROOFTOP TERRACE VIEW: Upon exiting Alberobello in Miniature, continue downhill. The next two shops on the right share a rooftop terrace.
Territory Museum “House Pezzolla” (aka Museo del Territorio “Casa Dottor Giacomo Giuseppe Pezzolla”) which provides the history of the area and information about how trulli are built.
CASA D’AMORE: When you exit the Territory Museum cut diagonally across the piazza in front of you (Piazza XXVII Maggio) and walk one more block until you reach another piazza (Piazza del Popolo). Make an immediate right at Piazza del Popolo and then one and a half blocks later you will see Casa D’Amore on the right. This historic home, which was built in 1797, is important in that it was the first in the area to be built “in cotto,” or using mortar. Before this, trullo were constructed by dry stacking stones, so they could be quickly and easily dismantled in order to avoid taxation.
BASILICA OF SAINTS COSMAS AND DAMIAN: Casa D’Amore at your back, walk towards Piazza del Popolo and then straight towards a building that says Municipio on the other side of the piazza. Before reaching the Municipio building, turn right and follow this street to the Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian at the end of the street.
TRULLO SOVRANO: Swing around the left side of the basilica. Walk one block beyond the basilica you will arrive at Trullo Sovrano. This very large trullo dates back to the early 1700’s. It was the family home of a wealthy priest named Cataldo Perta. It is the only trullo to have an elevated floor (a second level) and a masonry staircase. It is a National Monument and is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
CHURCH OF SAINT LUCIA: Backtrack to Piazza del Popolo and on the opposite side of the piazza look for the Church of Saint Lucia (it is set back off of the piazza). This church is dedicated to Saint Lucia, the patron saint of Alberobello.
BELVEDERE SANTA LUCIA: Around the right side of the Church of Saint Lucia is Belvedere Santa Lucia where you get another beautiful view of the trulli of Rione Monti.
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