Also known as the Capital of the Trulli, Alberobello is a very quaint town in the South of Italy that I would strongly reccomend spending a couple of days in, and I’m not saying it because it’s my hometown.
It’s a popular attraction for many tourists and visitors from close by towns for its fairytale like little houses now protected by UNESCO. These can also be found in the surrounding countryside and close by villages, but having around 1,500 trulli altogether is what makes Alberobello special and unique.
There are plenty of trulli to see, shops to stop by and typical dishes to try so that’s why I’d love to suggest few things that in my opinion shouldn’t be missed.
Tip #1 – Aia Piccola
You may find many trulli located in the commercial area that have been converted into shops, restaurants or used for lodging. Despite the area being very pretty, it can also be very busy.
There are some trulli still lived in by locals situated in my favorite area called Aia Piccola which is more quiet and very picturesque. You cannot skip it!
View Rione Aia Piccola in a larger map
Tip #2 – Panino Pasqualino
It’s the only place in the whole of Italy where you can have this kind of sandwich, unless you learn how to make it by yourself or specifically ask for the right ingredients to stuff the bread roll with.
It was made for the first time back in 1966 from a shop owner called Pasquale, hence its name.
Unfortunately it’s not vegetarian because it’s stuffed with salame, galbanino (a kind of sweet cheese), canned tuna, capers, pickled vegetables and mushrooms (the original recipe didn’t have pickled veggie and mushrooms though). .
Simply walk in any ’alimentari’ and ask for a Pasqualino, they will know exactly what you are after. In my opinion the best place in town to get it is a very small and old shop in the Aia Piccola area called Franco Girolamo Alimentari.
View Franco Girolamo Alimentari in a larger map
Tip #3 – Weekly Thursday Market
I love markets no matter where they are, this one in Alberobello is on every Thursday morning from around 8 until more or less 12. There are stalls selling different things from clothes, shoes, towels, lingerie, bags and more as well as lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and local cheeses.
It’s also possible to find some unique items that are typically from the area like handmade wicker items like baskets or you can buy fresh and organic bundles of oregano left to dry, ready to be used for cooking – a really strong and tasty spice!
The market is scattered throughout the center and in Largo Martellotta, it will be difficult not to bump into it.
Tip #4 – Sleep in a Trullo
It’s probably a very touristy thing to do, but I still thing is worth it!
There are plenty of agencies that rent trulli for short or long stays and it’s definitely a nice experience.
Those have all been renovating to be habitable and in some cases they are decorated inside in an ‘old’ style to recreate the original atmosphere.
Some also have swimming pools and other additional comforts that, even though might make your stay more pleasant, aren’t part of the original architectural plans.
Tip #5 – The best Gelato in town
Arte Fredda is considered by many of the locals to be the best gelateria in town and we’d certainly say it’s up there as one of the best.
The gelato is freshly made by using real fruits, nuts and other ingredients which makes a big different in terms of taste. Enjoy!
View Gelateria Arte Fredda in a larger map
One more thing, if you are in Alberobello during Christmas time, there is a live nativity organized on some Sundays in the Aia Piccola streets which is completely closed to traffic and open to pedestrians only. The area is transformed and populated with people dressed in clothes from the old days recreating the nativity scenes, making food, performing, playing music and acting to entertain everybody. Be careful though, It’s all in Italian and dialect but still great to see! 🙂