After arriving at the port of Bari early in the morning on our MSC cruise ship, we used the first part of the day to explore the town of Alberobello, about 55 kilometers away, on our own. What is special about Alberobello? Alberobello has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, because here there is a vast enclosed district built entirely with trulli – small, mostly white and round houses with conical roofs that look like large pointed hats. Of course we really wanted to see that 🙂
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Things to know about the city of Alberobello
Alberobello is located in the Italian region of Puglia, at the heel of the Italian boot, about 60 km from the provincial capital of Bari. The small town with its approximately 10,000 inhabitants is known above all for its more than 1,500 trulli: small, mostly white and round houses with conical roofs. These can be found everywhere in Puglia, but nowhere do they appear in such abundance as in Alberobello. The houses have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.
How to get from Bari to Alberobello?
From Bari the best way to get to Alberobello is by rental car, bus or train. We first took bus No. 50 from the port directly to the main train station (1.50 EUR per person) and there we boarded a Ferrovie del Sud Est bus that departed directly from the south side of the main train station “Bari Centrale” (location in Google Maps). The bus ride is certainly the cheapest option at 4.40 EUR per person and a travel time of about 65 minutes. We bought the ticket directly online via the (Italian) website shortly before. Tickets are not sold on the bus.
In Alberobello the bus stop is very central on Via Cavour. From there it’s only about a 5 minute walk to Piazza Giangirolamo II and the Church of Saint Lucia, from where you can get your first great view of the Trulli houses.
The Trulli Houses
The name Trullo, plural Trulli, stands for the round houses, mainly found in Puglia and built of limestone, whose stone roofs form a cone towards the top. The roofs of the buildings often bear mythological or religious signs made of white ash and end in a decorative peak, which are supposed to ward off evil influences or bad luck. Due to their construction in massive natural stone with very thick walls and tiny windows, the trulli offer good protection against the persistent summer heat in Puglia.
The whitewashed walls of the trulli were built directly on limestone rocks from the 17th century onwards, using a dry-stone masonry technique (i.e. without the use of mortar or cement). The reason for this construction technique was to save taxes, which were previously introduced for the construction of new settlements. Since the trulli could be dismantled and rebuilt at any time (in the event of a royal inspection), they were considered temporary accommodations and, unlike permanent residences, were exempt from taxation.
Although rural trulli can be found throughout the Itria Valley, the highest concentration and best preserved examples of this architectural form are in the city of Alberobello, where there are more than 1,500 buildings in the Rione Monti and Aja Piccola districts. Some trulli are up to 300 years old. This is also the reason why Alberobello has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.
A tour of the trulli quarter
From the Church of Saint Lucia we began our tour of the Monti district, which sits on a 15-acre hill and is home to about 3,000 residents. Here are 1,030 trulli arranged along eight streets with the trulli church of Sant’Antonio on the hill. It doesn’t matter which of the small cobblestone streets you go down – they all lead up. Many trulli are really beautifully decorated with flowers. In most of them there are small souvenir stores, stores and boutiques; some are also inhabited.
The Trulli houses are really unique and we are totally happy to have seen them live now. But what you have to say about it: Alberobello and especially the Monti district are the purest tourist hotspot. In the late morning, the tourist buses roll in here and one tour group after the other is led through the alleys. For those who are traveling individually in the area and are not – like us – bound to ship times, we recommend a visit to Alberobello in the morning hours or in the late afternoon/evening. Then it is much more relaxed here and you can also take more beautiful photos.
We walked for about 1 hour through the small alleys with the trulli and discovered beautiful photo spots again and again. However, since we wanted to explore the sights of the city of Bari (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) before our cruise ship MSC Fantasia departed at 6 p.m., we headed back by bus at 1 p.m.
A video from Alberobello
On YouTube there are some nice videos of the town of Alberobello and its trulli houses. You can get a good impression in this video with a drone shot.
All travelogues of our cruise through the Adriatic SeaWe deliberately chose the 8-day cruise with MSC Cruises from Trieste, as it included some places that had been on our bucket list for a long time. In total, our trip took us through four countries: Italy, Montenegro, Greece and Croatia. We were able to experience six eventful and varied days on land: We started in Trieste, then continued to the port city of Ancona, through the breathtaking Bay of Kotor to Bari. The journey continued to the green island of Corfu and to medieval Dubrovnik with its impressive city walls, from where we returned to Trieste. Since our plane left from Venice, we were even able to make a small detour to the gondola city, which was another highlight of the trip.
Cruise Day 1 » MSC Cruises – Cruise with MSC Fantasia in the Adriatic Sea
Cruise Day 1 » Trieste – Sights & the best Photo Spots in one day (Italy)
Cruise Day 2 » Ancona – The most famous sights in the old town (Italy)
Cruise Day 3 » Kotor – Bay, old town and fortification (Montenegro)
Cruise Day 4 » Bari – Top sights & photo spots in the old town (Italy)
Cruise Day 4 » Alberobello – A day trip from Bari to the Trulli houses (Italy)
Cruise Day 5 » Corfu – Discover the island in one day (Greece)
Cruise Day 6 » Dubrovnik – Top sights & photo spots in one day (Croatia)
Cruise Day 7 » Day at Sea
Cruise Day 8 » Venice - The most famous sights in just one day (Italy)