About Trulli Holiday
Alberobello, in the deep south of Italy, is famous for its trullo houses. These are small rural buildings made with dry-stone walls and conical roofs, usually whitewashed and often topped by spires. These humble but picturesque buildings dot the surrounding countryside, but in Alberobello there are actually two whole districts of trulli, over a thousand in all. Trulli Holiday is an agency which lets out holiday trulli; somewhere between a flat rental and a trendy ‘scattered hotel’. Their trulli are distributed around Alberobello, and are self-contained dwellings. Linen and towels are provided, and a cleaner drops by each day. It’s a bed and breakfast arrangement, with breakfast at a central bar included in the price and you can book for any period, for a night or longer. It’s the very best way to stay in Alberobello; lodging in a trullo of your very own.
We made an online reservation for three nights in May 2008, booking a 3-person trullo for 110 per night. There were actually two of us travelling, but reading the room descriptions this seemed the best option for ensuring separate beds. The agency has a range of trulli, and you can choose the type you want when booking; there is even a very small single-person trullo.
Arrival and customer service
Trulli Holiday have an office right in the centre of Alberobello, and this is where you go on arrival, to be greeted by friendly English-speaking staff, provided with a town map and escorted to your trullo. Ours was at the higher end of town, near the main church. It was at the opposite end of the town centre from the main trulli districts – around a 15-minute walk – but even in these quiet residential lanes, half the houses were trulli. It was a very peaceful ‘local’ area, with cats promenading; once we saw a local housewife darting from one trullo entrance to another carrying dinner in a dish. Apart from a noisy car reversing one morning, it was a very quiet place to stay.
During our stay we had problems with the key to the outer door of our building, and Francesco from the agency accompanied us to fix it (of course, that was the one time it worked). We were also unable to make the gas hob work, and nervous of tinkering with the canister: the cleaning lady the next day fixed that for us. It was handy being able to drop into the office with any questions or problems, and they were happy to help.
Our trullo, under one main conical roof with little subsidiary bulges, was surprisingly spacious. They look like hobbit houses on the outside, but as they are single storey, trulli have fairly high (albeit sloping) ceilings. The trullo (which I suppose could be termed an apartment or even a bungalow) had a traditional open plan layout, with sleeping, living and kitchen/dining spaces divided by arches.
The front door opened directly onto a sleeping area with a double bed. There was some confusion over our request for twin beds (made at the time of booking), but it turned out that the cleaner had made up the double sofa-bed in our flat so we both slept in comfort. In this part of the trullo there was also a wardrobe and a television set with satellite channels. Beyond this, in the high-ceilinged heart of the building, was a comfortable living area containing the sofa bed, a sideboard, shelves and cupboards and a coffee table. Around a corner was the kitchen area with a dining table, two gas hobs, a large fireplace and sink. We found a basic supply of kitchen equipment and a fridge containing mini-bar offerings, including free mineral water. The style of the trullo was simple and traditional, but also fresh and airy. It had a stone flagged floor, white walls, and attractively-exposed bare stone shelves and arches. Various bits of rustic ornamentation stood around the place, to give ‘authentic’ historic atmosphere. The only negative thing was probably the small amount of natural light but that’s common to trulli, which started off as humble ‘temporary’ buildings built of rough dry stonework.
The bathroom was small but decent with a shower (a bit low due to the curvature of the building). There were towels and some toiletries. The building had radiators to keep it warm in winter.
Breakfast is taken at a central bar, on the town’s main square. On arrival we were presented with vouchers which we then handed over at the bar to receive our breakfast. This was pretty similar what you’d get in a typical Italian B&B or budget hotel: croissant, rolls, yoghurt, tea or coffee and so on. The breakfast was brought on a tray: my companion noted that different tables were being presented with different assortments of items and made a point of requesting more. It’s not too unusual to take your breakfast at a bar in Italy. Personally I found it quite a decent arrangement; sitting in the early morning piazza watching the old men arriving in town for their promenades and chats. It was a ten-minute walk away from our trullo, though, which meant a slower start to the day. Since we had kitchen facilities, and could have brewed our own tea and bought cheap croissants, I saw the included breakfast as a pleasant bonus, and would have skipped it had we been in a hurry.
The Trulli Holiday office is in Piazza Antonio Curri. From the railway station, walk straight ahead up Viale Margherita, and continue straight on along Corso Trieste e Trento. The office is on your right when you reach the high street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele.
We really enjoyed staying in our own trullo, and found this much more fun than merely looking around souvenir-shop trulli. It was spacious and comfortable and it was great to have our own kitchen and dining facilities. During a tour of Puglia staying in hotels and B&Bs, it made a pleasant break to have our own living quarters, to save money by cooking for ourselves and to stay in and relax for an evening or two. My companion felt it was a shame that our trullo wasn’t in one of the main tourist trulli districts; I quite liked the quiet everyday atmosphere and the mixture of trulli and cottages on our street. If you are visiting Alberobello, it is worth staying locally, and Trulli Holiday makes a very good accommodation choice. A countryside trullo might suit travellers with hire cars, but if you want to potter around and use the local trains, an apartment in town is very convenient. Like us, you’ll probably be charmed by the comfortable pixie-like atmosphere of a well-kept trullo, and understand why so many other foreigners are coming to Puglia and buying up these little houses.
Make a booking
> Trulli Holiday – check availability / book a trullo
> Trullidea offers a very similar range of accommodation options.
> More Alberobello accommodation