Think of Puglia and you will probably picture Alberobello’s trulli - as iconic as Polignano a Mare’s Lama Monachile - and just as likely to grace the cover of the latest edition of The Lonely Planet Guide to Puglia.
Although trulli feature across the green and gorgeous Valle d’Itria, Alberobello is the undisputed capital.
Drawing a stream of visitors all year round tourism takes centre stage in Alberobello. It is the only town in Puglia where you'll see a constant flow of tour buses. Most trulli in the crowded commercialised Monti district are shops; those that are not are restaurants.
Yet no trip to Puglia would be complete without visiting Alberobello.
“... we were slightly underwhelmed by our time in Alberobello... Our advice to you is to try and arrive here before 9 a.m. to have a glimpse of Alberobello before the crowds arrive, or in the later afternoon once the majority have departed.”
Along Dusty Roads, A Short Guide to Alberobello.
Most tourist guides and commentators likewise suggest arriving early to avoid the organised tour groups as Alberobello fills up by the bus load. To some extent trying to avoid negotiating the crowds is impossible, even by arriving early in the morning as more people take that advice on board. Besides, that is now part of the Alberobello experience.
We say embrace it. Arrive when best suits you. Mid-morning or late afternoon - after 5pm - works for us. Our suggestion if you have your own transport is that you need no more than 2 hours, excluding lunch or dinner, to soak up all that is Alberobello.
Rione Monti | the over commercial main trulli district should not be ignored. Just remember although it is the heart of the trulli zone, it is no longer the soul. No need to amble - save that for later. Walk up Monte S. Michele, grab a coffee and delicious pastry at Martinucci Laboratory, via Monte S. Michele, 57. Cross over to Monte S. Gabriele and then onto Monte S. Marco.
Job done. You have seen what most visitors come to Alberobello to see.
Now cross over the Largo Martellotta and head up the steps towards Piazza XXVII Maggio and the rione Aia Piccola. The Aia Piccola district is less crowded, its restored trulli - mostly B&B accommodation - with characteristic original stonework intact. If you dig a little deeper you can discover a secret, hidden space offering a more intimate, close-up experience of Alberobello’s heritage.
No matter when you visit, if you know where to look you can still find a small part of the Alberobello that so inspired Italian film director and poet Pier Paolo Pasolini...
More | read our BIG Guide to Alberobello