Puglia, Italy: Trulli Charming and Different
My bags are packed and I am anticipating countless adventures ahead. Where is Puglia you ask? Don't worry, I've got you covered!
Where is Puglia?
Puglia is located in the southeastern tip of Italy; the very back of the boot, if you will.
Puglia is rich with history and tradition, luxurious beaches, stunning sea villages and delectable cuisine. With so many charming towns, it's quite easy to lose track of time. In my upcoming posts, we will visit the following areas:
Polignanono a Mare
How do you get to Puglia?
Access to Puglia is quite easy. Travelers have the option of flying into Bari airport (BRI) or Brindisi (BDS). Both are between 45 minutes to an hour from the heart of Puglia.
Tip: In order to maximize your visit, I recommend setting up home base in a centrally located area (Martina Franca is an excellent option) and renting a car or making arrangements with a car service. There are several enchanting towns that you will want to visit but each are 30-40 minutes away by car.
First stop: Alberobello
After settling in at Masseria Fumarola, we embarked on our first excursion in Puglia, the town of Alberobello. As we approached the edge of town, I was captivated by the whitewashed hills. Trulli as far as the eye could see. You may be thinking "um, what?" Unique to the Puglia region, Trulli are circular, dry stone dwellings with conical roofs. The longer we meandered throughout the cobblestone streets, I expected to see little gnome-like creatures emerge from these stone huts. It was a scene straight out of a fairy tale.
Of course, the Italians have quite an interesting story about the evolution of the Trulli. In the seventeenth century, taxation laws were rather stringent and the nobility would impose unwieldy taxes on any permanent dwelling structure. As you can imagine, the peasants and farmers of the area were unable to bear the burden of these taxes, therefore they outsmarted the system. They built dwellings that could literally be torn down at a moments notice. One pull of the keystone and the Trulli would turn into a pile of rubble. Clearly, the Italians would go to great lengths to outsmart the system.
Having ample time to wander around the city (we may have even had time for a gelato stop), we met up with our guide who took us on a walking tour of this UNESCO World Heritage site where we learned the history behind these intriguing structures. I was shocked when I found out how many people they would pack into those tiny little structures. Not only would they have an entire family, but they would often house their livestock there as well. Now that's what I call close quarters!
During our walking tour, we had the pleasure of meeting this local couple who were known for producing figs and nuts. We had a chance to pop in and see one of their many gardens. It was filled with fragrant herbs and vegetables. The gentleman was kind enough to let us sample some of his highly coveted figs and nuts. It was love at first bite. So much so, several of us purchased a few containers of these to take home. Why is it that things always taste so much better in Italy ;)
For those of you who know me, you know I am a total animal lover despite my allergies! During our walking tour, I saw this little guy perched on top of the shop door. I know cats can jump, but this was impressive. Clearly, he didn't want to have his picture taken.
For those not distracted by the cat, you may have noticed the large white symbols painted on top of the Trulli roof. These symbols are believed to have a religious or magical significance warding off evil and protecting their inhabitants. If you are exploring, you will likely find these on Trulli that have been recently renovated.
Alberobello is a town rich with history and filled with character and beauty. And, I haven't even told you about the food (stay tuned)! If you are planning a trip to Puglia, make sure you Alberobello is on your itinerary!
Until next time!