I fell in love with Alberobello long before I visited. It had been on my list of ‘Travel Goals’ for quite a while and has long featured in one of my most pin-tastic boards on Pinterest.
I have now finally been to Alberobello and seen with my own eyes what a magical place it really is, just like my research had suggested. I have plenty to share from my experience in this town I affectionately re-named ‘Wow-berobello’. Here it is…
Alberobello lies in the heart of the Puglia region or the ‘Heel’ of Italy and is easily reached within an hours drive from Bari or Brindisi airports. The town has been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its dense population of Trulli. These characteristic cone-topped stone houses are prevalent throughout the Puglia region but nowhere more concentrated than in Alberobello itself.
It’s a wonderful place for a day trip or short break but even better, as a base for exploring the wider region of Puglia.
READ ABOUT MY BIG PULIA ADVENTURE HERE
For now, I’m going to leave you with my top 12 ‘Wow’ experiences that will inspire your plans to visit Alberobello and if you loved it as much as I did, leave a comment below and share your best bits!
1: TAKE A SEGWAY TOUR
Exploring Alberobello by Segway with Allways Puglia was the first thing on my agenda when I arrived and although I was slightly nervous about navigating the hilly and narrow streets on a gadget I’d never experienced before, it turned out to be easy-peasy and so much fun. This ranks as my #1 top recommendation for things to do in Alberobello. It’s a fast and fun way to get your bearings, see the town in a way you wouldn’t without a tour guide, and enjoy a wonderful insight into the history of Alberobello. Our tour included the best viewing points, some fantastic restaurant recommendations and an abundance of knowledge on the local area with our tour guide, Francesco.
2: TOUR INSIDE A TRADITIONAL TRULLO HOUSE
Take a tour inside a traditional Trullo house that has been preserved to demonstrate how they were originally used and kept for a great insight into rural life back in the early 1900’s.
3: WANDER THE STREETS
Whether you book a private or group walking tour to see and learn your way around the streets of Alberobello, or you just head out wandering in your own direction at your own pace, you simply can’t get lost. There are 8 small roads that lead almost parallel to each other from the town square, up the hill of the oldest part of the town known as the Rione dei Monti. The roads pretty much all lead to the church of Sant’Antonio da Padova – the only Trulli Church in the World. The streets are fascinating; full of houses, shops, restaurants, ice cream bars and enough visual enjoyment to spend hours on end just walking around and admiring the fairy-tale town.
4: EAT ICE CREAM
Italians know how to make good ice cream and it’s not hard to come by a Gelateria on the streets of Alberobello such as Arte Fredda, an award-winning ice cream parlour in the old town that has been selling traditional and delicious ice cream since 1994.
5: SLEEP IN A TRULLO HOUSE
If you’re visiting Alberobello, your experience won’t be complete without staying for at least a night in one of the many trullo guest houses or B&B’s available in the town. There’s something to suit everyone in terms of budget; whether it’s a romantic night for two or a novelty experience for a family of 6 or more, you will enjoy the chance to step back in time with a stay in a quirky cone-shaped room full of old world charm.
I stayed in a rental villa just outside the town called Trulli Pietra Luna which was beautifully renovated without compromising the original characteristics of the property. It ranks in one of my all-time favourite accommodation experiences and I would recommend anyone to stay in a trullo for an authentic and complete Alberobello experience.
6: TASTE PASTICCIOTTO
These custard filled Italian pastries are known only in this region of Italy and are a popular breakfast option. For me, they were a suitable ‘anytime snack’ option after discovering what heaven tastes like; a crispy, crumbly case filled with soft custard and a huge choice of flavours from hazelnut, cherry, chocolate and pistachio… they’re so delicious. Visit Martinucci Pasticceria for the ultimate experience and great coffee too!
7: VISIT LOCAL TOWNS
Whilst Alberobello is entirely unique in its vista of whitewashed streets filled with cone-shaped houses, the surrounding towns of Puglia each have their own exclusive landscapes from the ancient ruins and cherub lined streets of Lecce to the dramatic seascapes of Polignano. All within easy reach of Alberobello by car, bus, train or organised tour. A visit to Puglia wouldn’t be complete with exploring Alberobello’s neighbouring towns including Lecce, Polignano a Mere, Monopoli, Martina Franca, Bari, Otranto, Locorotondo, Cisternino.
READ MORE ABOUT PUGLIA HERE
8: BUY SOUVENIRS
For me, there’s nothing better than a fridge magnet to add to my collection and I always try to find one that best resembles my favourite memories of a place. When it comes to Alberobello, the iconic trullo house mounted on a magnetic disc was an absolute winner! Luckily for me, there’s an abundance of gift shops overflowing with souvenirs in every format imaginable in the design of Alberobello’s exclusive shaped house. But it doesn’t stop there. The region is known for the best olive oil in the World, delicious and unique pasta varieties, amazing liquors in all kinds of flavours, local wines and cheeses, and traditional Taralli pretzels which no suitcase should leave without! There is also a specialist local handmade leather shop with beautiful bags, wallets and belts, and the most wonderful wood shop with amazing hand carved gifts and accessories.
9: EAT TRADITIONAL PUGLIAN CUISINE
Traditional dishes in Puglia are simple and delicious, using fresh and local produce. Broad beans, chickpeas, aubergines, tomatoes, courgettes, olive oil, and fresh seafood are really popular along with the local handmade pasta called Orecchiette, literally meaning “small ears” in Italian. It’s commonly served in Southern Italy as cime di rapa (with broccoli and garlic). I tried this at the Trattoria Terra Madre (Alberobello’s very own organic restaurant) alongside the best red wine I have ever tasted (just so you know!), which made my slightly odd experience of celebrating organic vegetables much more exciting.
10: MAKE MOZZARELLA
Just outside of Alberobello you will find Caseificio Salatino, on a beautiful farmland setting in Locorotondo. You can book an English speaking tour of the factory for 15 Euros per person and watch the cheese being made whilst learning about the artisan processes before tasting the fresh mozzarella, burrata, ricotta and scamorza with a glass of wine. This is a really wonderful, authentic experience with fabulous hospitality by the owner and the cheese is absolutely delicious.
11: TAKE PHOTOS
The chances are you won’t need any encouragement to pack a camera for your trip but my advice is to make sure your batteries are fully charged because there are so many Instagram worthy shots to be had and you will not want to go home without a disc full of memories to show off your unforgettable fairy-tale adventure to your friends and family. From the quirky domed roof houses to the beautifully decorated shop doorways, rooftop views, delicious food and a backdrop of rolling olive groves… you will be pappin’ for days!
12: ORDER A PASQUALINO
The typical sandwich of Alberobello since 1966 and a hidden custom known only in this town. The Pasqualino sandwich is usually made with a rosetta bread and was traditionally filled with tuna fish, capers, salami and cheese. Over the years, variations to the original ingredients have been used including mushrooms, courgettes, pickles and cold meats but the original recipe is still widely known and available to order even if it’s not advertised, shopkeepers recognise the secret code word of ‘Pasqualino’. I enjoyed what was genuinely the best sandwich I have ever eaten at La Pagnottella Panini Lovers which is just around the corner from the Belvedere Santa Lucia viewing terrace with the best panoramic view over Alberobello.
READ MORE IN MY BIG PUGLIA ADVENTURE