The town of Alberobello, is basically divided into 2 parts, – the New Town and the UNESCO World Heritage site of the famous Old Town, the “Trulli Town” that ascends the slope facing the New Town opposite.
The Trulli area again is divided into two main zones, the Aia Piccolo is less visited by tourists and comprises mainly small trulli, which are still the residential homes of local inhabitants. The Aia piccolo is quieter, more peaceful and less colourful than the Rione Monti which is filled with activity and tourists.
Many of the Trulli here are transformed into restaurants and cafes, others promote local crafts from pottery and lace to local produce. Amongst the silversmiths, jewelers and clothes vendors there are inevitably other Trulli which sell the expected and usual tourist kitsch also.
Strolling around the Old towns narrow flagged streets, one twists up and down the hillside through warrens of side alleys and dead ends, encountering artisans who beckon passers-by to view their wares, Whilst other shopkeepers entice potential customers in with free tasters of food or offers of wine-tasting.
Take advantage of some of these accidental detours to enjoy some scenic and pretty views over the panorama of bumpy rooftops.
The wines and food samples offered can be surprisingly good, and stiff competition keeps the sellers competitive, and whilst inside take the opportunity to view the strange stone architecture of the Trullo seen from within.
There are several theories of the origin of the Trulli.
Traditionally small, circular, dry stone-built dwellings with thick walls, a conical roof with one door and no windows. Cool in summer, warmer in winter a trullo could be expanded as needed to add further cones, as family size or prosperity permitted, thus creating 2, 3 or even 10 cone trulli clusters.
Whether they are a hold-over from pre-roman architecture, or, as more widely thought to be conceived and thus built as a house tax evasion measure, – as without mortar or cement they could be swiftly demolished before, and rapidly re-built after, the visit to the area of the Kings tax inspectors.
Nowadays some people renovate and sometimes still build Trulli houses but with modern construction techniques and materials incorporated into their fabrication.
Whatever is their origin, a trip to Alberobello is “truly” a fascinating experience, and with the town being close to Castellana Grotte, the two destinations can easily be combined into a single days excursion.
- Trullo D’Oro (local cuisine) – 27 Via Cavallotti Old town(well signposted)
- La Cantina local cuisine) Main Street in the Old town