Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Alberobello! The Capital of the Trulli.

Trulli of Alberobello!
Alberobello is a small town in the province of Bari in the Italian region of Apulia (Puglia), southern Italy. It has about 11,000 inhabitants and is famous for its unique prehistoric trulli buildings. The Trulli of Alberobello have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996, because its collection of some 1,500 trulli in an urban environment is unique.
Alberobello is known as the Capital of the Trulli. The trullo is a fascinating architectural feature of this area of Puglia, a building with conical roof made without mortar. The name derives from the late Greek word for dome (τρούλος; in Italian, cupola), and refers to the ancient stone houses with conical roofs.
Some of the trulli are now used for stores, restaurants, and lodging. But many are still inhabited by locals, who are very friendly to visitors.
The town is the centre of an annual pilgrimage to the Basilica dedicated to the martyr saints Cosma and Damiano.
Alberobello was first mentioned in the early sixteenth century when the first 40 families got land to farm in the area. The abundance of calcareous sedimentary material in the area lead to the building of houses with dry stone without the use of mortar. These houses were the first trulli which contributed to the expansion of the settlement. Building the houses of dry stone was a requirement of Count Giangirolamo II as this way it was avoidable to pay taxes on them. Alberobello was feud of the Acquaviva of Aragon until May 27, 1797, when King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon received Alberobello and issued a decree that elevated the small village to a royal city, freeing them from feudal serfdom.
The Trulli Houses of Alberobello, Italy.
The Trulli Houses of Alberobello, Italy.
The Trulli Houses of Alberobello, Italy.
The Trulli Houses of Alberobello, Italy.
The principal tourist activity in Alberobello is wandering around looking at trulli. There are also a handful of small museums and plenty of opportunities for buying kitsch souvenirs and tasting local products.
The most touristy part of Alberobello is Rione Monti, a district on a slope facing the modern town centre. It consists of several narrow lanes sloping upwards, with others winding along the hillside, and is extremely picturesque both from afar and close up.
Heading up Via Monte Michele beyond the commerce, you will reaches Alberobello's twentieth-century trullo church, the Chiesa di Sant'Antonio.
The second trulli district is called Aia Piccola. This is very different from Rione Monti and is less visited by tourists. It is still a residential area, with quiet lanes lined with little inhabited trulli.
The rest of Alberobello is mostly 'normal' buildings but with trulli popping up picturesquely here and there. Behind the large town church, the Chiesa dei Santi Medici Cosma e Damiano are small lanes of trulli leading to Trullo Sovrano. This is a trullo house on the grand scale, which is furnished with period fittings.
From the church a long street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, leads down through town towards the main trulli areas. It's quite a gracious street with a few bars, shops and restaurants dotted along it, and is much favoured by the elderly men who pass their time in small groups on benches and pavements. The main town square, Piazza del Popolo, is a pleasant open space with tables and benches for watching the world go by.
Nearby is the town museum, the Museo del Territorio its give a good idea of how inhabitants used to live.
Alberobello has a few other small museums, as well as the many trulli which bill themselves as museums or show trulli but are basically just souvenir shops. There is a Museum of Olive Oil, a Museum of Wine and a Museum of Handicrafts.

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Alberobello, Italy.
Alberobello, Italy.
Alberobello, Italy.
Chiesa dei Santi Medici Cosma e Damiano, Alberobello, Italy.
Chiesa di Sant'Antonio, Alberobello, Italy.
Trullo Sovrano, Alberobello, Italy.
Museo del Territorio, Alberobello, Italy.
The easiest way to reach Alberobello is by train. At Bari Centrale station, which is served by Trenitalia, look for signs to the Ferrovie Sud-Est, located within the same station. The trip takes 1h30min and tickets are sold in the ticket office next to the platform for €4.80 each way. There are 15 daily connections (some direct, some via Putignano) from Monday-Saturday and much fewer trains on Sunday.
Alberobello can also be reached by car with under an hour's drive from either Bari or Brindisi airport.
There are also a few train connections to Taranto a day.
From the station, walk to the town centre and follow signs to the Zona Monumentale Trulli. The walk takes about 15 minutes.
If you are coming from Matera, the only form of transport is a car, however, there is a shuttle service.
Beautiful white houses in Alberobello, Apulia, Italy.
Streets of Alberobello, Apulia, Italy.
The bell towers of the Cathedral of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Alberobello.
Trulli houses in Alberobello, Apulia, Italy.
Trulli of Alberobello!

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