Rumskys Repositioned from the Caribbean to Europe and Back Again travel blog

Our first glimpse of trulli in the countryside

Wecome to our trulli home!

Two story luxurious interior

Our amazing trulli-lined street

Sunset view of the UNESCO World Heritage site, Rione Monte

Trullo Sovrano serves as a showcase home

Shop in a traditional trullo serving home-made liquors near Trullo Sovrano

The owners Sovrano took security measures seriously (note shotgun window!)

World War I era water fountains provide potable water throughout the town

Street view from the top of the Trullo Sovrano

More wandering around the UNESCO Zona dei Trulli

One of the many eye-catching streets in the Rione Monti

Unforgettable lunch at Il Pinacolo, right in the heart of the Rione...

We just can't get enough!

Symbols on the trulli symbolized resistance to Nazi oppression

Amazing trulli church, the Parrocchia Sant'Antonio

Church's interior

View towards the main square of Alberobello from the Rione Monti

Luckily, our unhappy immigration officer let us board the plane despite a "bad stamp" from Palermo Italy (see our Malta entry for details). We bid a very sad farewell to both our wonderful friend Hef and the lovely island country of Malta. Despite all kinds of shenanagans on the computer involving combinations of ferries, trains, and buses, by far the easiest, cheapest, and most cost-effective way to get from Malta to Bari was a quick Ryan air flight. The challenge was getting from the Bari airport all the way to Alberobello in an afternoon. Using the Italian transportation system. Armed with a bit of research ahead of time, Fran confirmed the existence of a city bus (16?) for just a euro or two from the airport downtown to the train station. The bus was there and waiting, and although quite crowded (stand up room only), it served its purpose and brought us downtown to the central train station which incidently, is also the central bus station. We checked into a bus to Alberobello but given our schedule, it wasn't available, so instead we looked for a local train to Alberobello. Once again, like many other Italian stations, the local and the intercity trains use two different tracks. This time, the wonderful woman in the information center told us to go through the station, all the way past the tracks, to the last track and up. What? We did as we were told, thinking we were totally befuddled (which actually, we were). We emerged from the last track, and there, by the side of the road, was a small cement building selling tickets to, you guessed it, Alberobello (and other local points). One set of rickety tracks originated from that building. A delightful local man confirmed we were in the right spot, and luckily, the electronic board over the track confirmed it as well. We even had time to grab a water (darn those airport rules that I can't get through security with my big water!) and a snack before settling on the train. Easy peasy directions from the train to our trullo and voila, we found ourselves in absolutely magical Alberobello.

I'm sure you've figured out by now that I am the queen of advanced expectations. So much of travel is anticipatory, and I love that aspect of it. It's so exciting to be envisioning yourself in an incredible place, hearing the sounds, living the dream of being there. The challenge is to manage expectations so that I don't end up disappointed. I'm not sure I have a good answer on how to do that. But seeing the trulli of Alberobello had been on my bucket list for years, and I was super excited to be going at last. We even were spending a huge chunk of our budget to stay in one of those special places. Expectations, as you could imagine, were riding high!

Alberobello did not disappoint! It is an amazing place. These structures have been used to house livestock all the way back to prehistoric times. At the "Casa Pezzolla" Territory Museum, a fabulous display put together by local school children indicate that in the 1600's, the king of Naples ordered that no new territory be built without the viceroy's authorization. Local nobleman Gian Girolamo snuck around this law and avoided paying taxes to the king by forcing locals to live in trulli built with dry walls, no mortar, so that they continue to look like homes for livestock, certainly not for people to inhabit. This is an awesome museum and a great starting place for learning about the trulli, before heading to the nearby church (Parrocchia di Santa Lucia) with the best terrace view overlooking the Rione Monti.

The majority of the trulli lie in the Rione Monti, a UNESCO heritage site chock-full of the adorable dwellings. Take a walk up to the trullo church, the Parrochia di Sant’Antonio, and check inside for this really unique twist on a religious building. My other recommendation, also based on local advice from our Airbnb hostess, is to eat at El Pinacolo. This restaurant is named after the unique structures topping the trulli, called pinacolo (pinnacles). We ate on the terrace overlooking both the trulli that comprise the building, as well as the surrounding fields with trulli. Not only can the views not be beat, but the restaurant serves absolutely delicious food that is good enough for the locals (not just the day tripping tourists). We tried a couple of other spots and wished we had just eaten every meal here. Really. You should do that.

The other stroll to take around Alberobello is to make your way to the the Trullo Sovrano, a two-story house of a wealthy resident at the time. Displays in English bring the artifacts and rooms to life, which include information about what they cooked at the time, how they wove their clothes, and even, the need to protect their homes (note the shotgun opening by the front door in the main first floor bedroom. There is a beautiful garden in the back which serves some local wine and snacks, if you have time for that. I would also recommend checking out the more typical trullo to the right of the Trullo Sovrano (as you face the dwelling from the street). Here they can show you a more traditional house, give you a few factoids in English, and pour a couple of tastes of their delicious homemade flavored lemoncellos. We enjoyed them very much and wished we could take them home! Our airbnb trullo was near here, on Via Col di Lana, with a church worth checking out in between. It's nice to get a little less touristy view of the trulli, as people really do live out here in these homes. We sure did!

Now for the sad part, leaving this magical town. This was more easily said than done, as we had anticipated travel on a Sunday to Brindisi to board a ferry for Greece on Monday. If I can give you any advice, it's DO NOT TRAVEL ON A SUNDAY. Almost everywhere we've been in Europe on this trip, and certainly in Italy, has much reduced travel on Sundays. In this case, no local trains ran out of Alberobello on Sundays. Also, the local bus system was so limited that we couldn't get to Brindisi either. Instead, we had to take a super early bus BACK to Bari, and then an intercity train from Bari to Brindisi, where the next chapter starts.

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