How to visit Alberobello, a stunning UNESCO world heritage site in the South of Italy famous for its unique, hobbit-house looking ‘trulli’.
Some towns seem to be built just to resemble a fairy village and no town is more magical looking than Alberobello, Italy.
Set in the middle of the Apulian countryside, a land of olive groves and sun-drenched hills, Alberobello is famous for a distinctive type of dwelling called ‘trulli’ and gained notoriety in recent years thanks to its Instagram-ready appearance and its recognition as UNESCO world heritage site in 1996.
It is a gorgeous little place and despite the now intense tourism presence (see below), one worth adding to your Italian itinerary.
I have visited Alberobello several times, the latest of which with my husband and kids, during a road trip in the South of Italy
These are my top tips for visiting Alberobello and some photos that I hope will make you agree with me when I say that Alberobello is one of the most beautiful places in Italy!
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What is Alberobello famous for?
Alberobello is a small town in Puglia, in the South of Italy, famous for a particular type of building that is unique to the town: il trullo (plural: i trulli).
I trulli are small whitewashed buildings with a circular shape and a distinctive pointy roof made of flat grey bricks.
They date back to the 14th century, are unique to this part of Puglia and have a peculiar history, that has to do with the geological characteristics of this area as well as the history of taxation in the area.
You can read all about trulli and their history here.
Alberobello has the biggest concentration of them as it has several districts of the town entirely made of them!
Is Alberobello worth seeing?
Alberobello is unique and exceptionally pretty and it is indeed worth seeing.
People who are likely to enjoy it are not just architecture and Unesco enthusiasts but also anyone who likes strolling leisurely in pretty towns and quaint corners.
It is one of the most beautiful places in Puglia and, for many a highlight of a trip to this part of Italy.
Alberobello is inland and very popular, so it is not suitable for a sea and sun holiday nor if you are looking for a location off the beaten track.
Where is Alberobello?
Alberobello is in Puglia, the heel of the Italian, boot.
The closest big cities are Taranto, Bari, and Brindisi, all about 1h from Alberobello by car.
The closest international airports are Bari and Brindisi and the closes cruise port is Brindisi.
How long to visit Alberobello?
You can visit Alberobello in a matter of hours, about half-day.
The prettiest times in the city are the early morning and the evening, when you see the trulli all lit up – they look even more magical at night!
My best tip is to spend the night here and explore the town both in the late afternoon of your first day and the early morning of the second.
This is the time we found the most pleasant as it is the only one when the city is not assaulted by tourism.
I don’t want to sound judgemental as we were tourists ourselves and made up the crowds as much as the next person however, mass tourism is a problem in the city.
Large groups flock to the city and if you visit in the middle of the day, at the same time as anyone else, you basically walk inside a sea of people and see nothing.
Thankfully, the solution is as simple as arriving late and starting early: then, you will have the town for yourself and see it in its true magical nature!
How to get to Alberobello
The easiest way to visit Alberobello is getting there by car and then exploring the town on foot.
Parking is available in several locations in the modern part of the city (mostly play and display) and the trulli are easily reachable on foot.
When we traveled to this area, we rented our car from Avis Car Rental but several providers serve the area with desks at the main airports and cities.
You can compare prices from several companies here.
I know driving in Italy scares many but we found this area easy to tackle and refreshingly traffic-free. You can find my tips for driving in Italy here.
How to visit Alberobello
The best way to visit Alberobello is to park the car in the part of the historical center open to traffic and then take a stroll.
Alberobello develops over two main areas worth seeing: the Monti district and the Aia Piccola district.
These are the areas with the biggest concentration of trulli and they sit beside each other, separated by a large road/large piazza: Via Indipendenza / Largo Martellotta.
Both areas climb the flanks of small hills so when you go from one to the other you will find yourself going down and then up again.
You can choose whether to take the road of the stairs and in both cases, you will want to be equipped with good shoes!
While not hard as such, especially the stairs can be slippery as they are made of very polished stone: runners or rubber sole shoes are the best choice (you can find my recommended shoes for Italy here)
Best things to see in Alberobello
These are the top things to see in Alberobello, those I recommend you seek out during your stroll.
The ‘Trullo Sovrano’ (Sovrano= sovereign) is the biggest trullo in Alberobello and one worth seeking out.
It owes its name to its impressive size and the peculiar fact that it has multiple stories, something unique to it.
It sits in the highest part of Alberbello, almost crowning the city and it is outside of the Monti historical district which is actually a plus.
Coming here you will see a slightly different part of town, where ancient trulli mix with more modern houses and where modern Alberobello comes to life.
The Trullo sovrano is now a museum and it is worth visiting as it shows life in the Trulli and teaches about the story of this land.
- Address: Piazza Sacramento, 10/11 – 70011 Alberobello (Bari) ITALIA
- Official site (very slow to load): http://www.trullosovrano.eu/
Chiesa dei Santi Cosma and Damiano (church)
The church of Santi Cosma and Damiano is close to the Trullo Sovrano and a really beautiful place.
I first got a glimpse of it when we arrived after dark and the facade lit up stopped me in my tracks: the carvings are amazing and looked as if they were floating in the air!
You can visit the church in a matter of minutes and what I found most impressive about it was its color, in the typical cream-colored stone of this area, he decorations above its front door as well as its impressive bell towers.
Address: Piazza Antonio Curri, Alberobello
At the opposite end of the road from the church, you find the so-called ‘belevedere’, a small piazza overlooking the Monti district.
This is the place in Alberobello from where to take the traditional trulli shot and it is truly pretty but let me tell you: it is packed!
Since it is such a wonderful photo spot (dare I sai ‘instagrammable’?) it is one of the first places large tour groups go to and everyone wants their selfie there, so to see anything you need to literally wait in line (there were 50 people ahead of us!).
Honestly, if this happens when you are in Alberobello, don’t wait. Rather, if you can, come back in the evening after the day-trippers have gone,
Top tip! Rather than being with the crowds at the belvedere, head to the small park just below: the views are similar and there is next to no one!
The district of Aia Piccola is one of the cutest in Alberobello.
It lies just beside the belvedere and it is small and blessedly devoid of tourism.
Here you have small meandering streets with trulli everywhere and, unlike Monti (see below) you don’t have shops or restaurants but mostly real homes.
As we walked here, we saw laundry drying in the sun, the voices of tv coming out own trulli windows and cats lounging in the sun: a wonderful taste of real Alberobello life!
The Monti district
The Monti district is the Unesco district of Alberobello, the one with the largest concentration of trulli and the one tourism tends to focus on.
It is a hilly area (‘monti’ means ‘mountains’) and it is closed to car traffic.
Its small streets meander up the hill and they are glorious: they are paved in highly polished local stone and they are framed but many souvenir shops, cafes and small museums.
It is a wonderful place but it has what I can only call a ‘Disneyland feel’ to it.
While gorgeous and historical, tourism has truly transformed it into an ‘attraction’ and you would be excused if you were to feel this was a Disney ‘land’ rather than a real place.
However, I highly recommend you visit: just make sure you also see other bits of the city as in terms of charm, Aia Piccola packs a much more powerful punch.
I ‘trulli gemelli’
Trulli tend to be stand-alone structures so the one trullo that doesn’t, gets a lot of attention.
The in question is actually two trulli, connected like Siamese twins and aptly called ‘twin trulli’!
They are pretty and easy to spot close to the entrance of the Monti district
St Anthony’s church
Trulli were homes but also churches!
At the very top of the Monti district sits the church of St Anthony which is a trullo with a difference.
Much bigger than any other around, it is a trulli-inspired religious building with unique whitewashed towers crowned by the typical conical roofs and beautiful interior!
Fun fact: several leaflets inform you that you can get married in this church but also that the waiting list is long! If you fancy getting married in Alberobello (wouldn’t it be magical?), don’t leave it to the last minute, apparently it very saught after!
Where to stay in Alberobello
Many ancient trulli have now been restored to become house and hotels and I highly recommend staying in one if you can.
We chose the wonderful Trulli Anti Charme and relax which I highly recommend and that we found on Booking. com.
The place is wonderful and the welcome excellent: a bit of a treat but worth every cent!
Alberobello Italy Travel Resources
- Omio – Handy website for Train and Bus connections across Europe
- Booking.com – My go-to resource for accommodation (hotels, apartments and specialty lodging) with good deals and excellent cancellation policies
- LuggageHero – Large selection of luggage storage options for bags-free day trips
- GetYourGuide: booking platform for attraction tickets and day tours
- Lonely Planet: my one and only go-to travel guide provider
- AutoEurope: handy comparison website for the best car rental deals
I hope you found this guide useful and it helped to answer the question: how to visit Alberobello? Safe travels!