Alberobello, Italy - An undiscovered gem

Image Credit: Berthold Werner

Aurora Santoro outlines Alberobello as a hidden destination gem

While Italy is an extremely popular destination among tourists, tourism often concentrates in big cities such as Rome, Venice, or Florence. However, if you’re looking for more little-known wonders or cheaper off the beaten path destinations, Italy’s countryside is perfect for those looking for a peaceful and authentic experience. The countryside is dotted with picturesque villages, rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves that offer a glimpse into the traditional Italian way of life; a perfectly fitting example is the small town Alberobello. 

Alberobello is a relatively small village in Puglia, a region in southern Italy renowned for its beautiful coastline, gorgeous scenery, and exquisite cuisine. What genuinely distinguishes Alberobello and its surroundings, is their paradisiac combination of history, culture, and natural beauty. The town is renewed for its one-of-a-kind houses with their iconic cone-shaped roofs made of dry stone. These traditional residences, known as trulli, are decorated with symbols painted in white lime, and often adorned with potted flowers and colourful shutters, adding to their charm, and creating a beautiful contrast with the natural grey of the stone. This magic-infused scenery has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as "an exceptional example of vernacular architecture. It is one of the best preserved and most homogeneous urban areas of this type in Europe. Its special feature and the fact that the houses are still occupied make it unique. It represents a remarkable example of prehistoric building technique that survived in a nation that is recognized as one of the most important regions in the world for its exceptional architecture and urban planning."

These traditional residences, known as trulli, are decorated with symbols painted in white lime, and often adorned with potted flowers and colourful shutters

Located within easy reach of the picturesque coastline in Puglia, Alberobello presents an outstanding option for a summer getaway. The seaside in this area is known for its crystal-clear waters, rugged cliffs, and picturesque coves. Full of crystal blue hidden rocky beaches that provide a sense of tranquillity and privacy, the coastline is superb for relaxed swimming and sunbathing. At the same time, being home to an abundance of marine life and the breath-taking rugged cliffs make it an amazing destination for both water sports, snorkelling and scuba diving. Visitors can also explore the many caves and grottos that have been carved out by the sea over time, marvelling at the intricate designs and colours of the rocks such as the Castellana Caves: one of the most unique natural attractions in the area. A series of underground caves and tunnels that stretch for more than 3 kilometres beneath the surface, filled with stunning rock formations and underground lakes.

Full of crystal blue hidden rocky beaches that provide a sense of tranquillity and privacy

Alberobello, like the rest of Puglia, is famous for its wonderful cuisine. Traditional cuisine in the region is simple but full of flavour, with an emphasis on fresh, locally produced ingredients. Orecchiette pasta, a little, ear-shaped pasta that is commonly served with tomato sauce, garlic, and olive oil, is one of the area's most famous meals. Puglia is also noted for its cheeses, notably the creamy burrata and the caciocavallo, in addition to its wonderful pasta dishes. The region is also well renowned for its wines, such as Primitivo di Manduria and Negroamaro. While you can experience the local cuisine at local establishments across Alberobello, visiting one of the numerous food festivals conducted throughout the year is one of the finest ways to enjoy it. These celebrations honour everything from native mushrooms to sweet peppers to traditional street cuisine, and they provide an excellent opportunity to sample the finest of Puglia's culinary heritage. Last but not least, when compared to other of Italy's more popular tourist destinations Alberobello is much more affordable: the region's cost of living is often lower than that of more popular tourist spots, which means that lodging, food, and other costs are usually more reasonable. 

In other words, Alberobello is indeed a secret destination, with an original and pleasant environment that divides it from Italy's bigger tourist hotspots. The region's dedication to preserve its traditional way of life and slow pace has resulted in a distinct sense of community and warmth that is difficult to find elsewhere. Visitors will be enveloped by a pervading sense of calm and tranquillity whether they are walking the little streets of Alberobello, discovering the stunning natural vistas of the neighbouring nature reserves, or enjoying a great lunch of fresh pasta and local wine. Alberobello is a perfect location for anyone wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse themselves in a true authentic Italian experience.