Alberobello is just a little south of Putignano, so after Carnivale this was our next stop. We had taken our time after the Carnivale parade in leaving Putignano so we were well aware that Alberobello - which is a popular tourist town normally - could be very crowded. To our surprise, the place was deserted when we arrived. This is the main street through the center of town wherein it looks more or less like any other town in Puglia.
Alberobello is one of several towns in this valley that are home to a conical building style known as trulli. Going uphill from either side of the main street the vast majority of buildings are trulli. The shops, restaurants, homes, even at least one excessively photographed church.
Did we mention it wasn't crowded? Well, we lied. About a half hour after we arrived, the tour buses showed up and started dumping people in the center of town. The few streets that have shops along them were almost impassable not long after that. You may notice that many of the trulli in these pictures have sort of a chalk-symbol drawn on the roof tiles. These developed from some primitive Christian symbology mixed with local magic symbols and each of them has a meaning. You can buy any number of Alberobello souvenirs that explain them all.
A trullo (singular) is basically a round brick wall with a cone-shaped roof of stone tiles placed on top. The vast majority of these represent a single room inside the dwelling. Windows are obviously placed fairly low in the room. Trulli (plural) remain very cool in the summer heat. Or so we're told at least. In February that wasn't really an issue.
We found the most enjoyable part of Alberobello was some of the quieter residential areas - away from the crowds. Residents will actually invite passers-by in to tour their homes (often for a small charge). There are hotels and small inns set in the trulli as well. It is easy enough to see the interior of them just from visiting some of the stores and/or restaurants in town.
We considered basing ourselves in Alberobello instead of Matera. To be honest, we're glad we didn't. Alberobello is certainly an interesting town and worth visiting but there really isn't all that much to it. We thought Matera had a lot more to offer on a longer term basis. On the other hand, if you really want to stay in a trullo, Alberobello is probably the place to go. It's also worth noting that trulli are found throughout the Itria valley and the rural homesteads as well as the nearby town of Locorotondo have just as many as Alberobello does.