We had heard and read about the “trulli” in Puglia for several years. Trulli are white washed domed roofed dwellings native to Puglia, a southern region of Italy with a long coastline on the Adriatic Sea. Last year we decided to explore Puglia and check out my wife’s father’s home town of San Fernando di Puglia. More about that latter.
I found this trullo located in the countryside on HomeAway.com, my favorite website for vacation rentals. What made this property special outside of its immaculate and renovated condition, was its location. Italy is a crowded country and its hard to find a property that doesn’t have some close neighbors. The only close neighbor’s this trullo had were olive and cherry trees.
Puglia gets very hot in the summertime and the beaches are crowded. For these reasons, we decided to travel there in April when the everything is green and the spring flowers are in bloom. We choose a location about 20 minutes from the coast near Castellana Grotte.
Our proprietor, Francesca, met us in the nearest town in front of the church. She drove up in an old sedan with her coworker, Abdul a hippie looking Moroccan. I have to admit, at that point I had a few doubts as to what we where getting into. We followed them along a dirt road for almost a kilometer until arriving at our quarters. Any doubts that I had were dispelled upon entering the charming trullo complete with a bottle of wine and a bowl of fresh cherries on the dining room table. Abdul turned out to be an engaging and educated fellow who enjoyed English conversation. Before we left he told me the story of how his family had migrated from Morocco to Italy.
We situated ourselves near some very interesting attractions, namely Castellana Grotte, a large and beautiful cave and Alberobello, the noted Puglian settlement full of trulli. Obviously, our isolation required having a car. In addition, our nephew Alessandro, his companion Angela and her eleven year old nephew Matteo joined us after a couple of days. Now we had two cars at our disposal and I had a native Italian to do the driving leaving me free to enjoy the scenery.
We first stopped a few kilometers to the west at Castellana Grotte. The name “grotte” means caves in Italian and we took a two hour tour. I was surprised to learn that there are lots of caves scattered throughout Italy and also surprised that my Italian was good enough to understand 90% of what the guide was saying. It was a cool, damp and rainy day. Consequently, touring a cave with a constant temperature of 18C was a good decision. The cave, it seems was used as a garbage dump until the 1930’s when the town fathers realized its value as a tourist attraction.
As if living in a “trullo” wasn’t enough we had to visit Alberobello, the world’s capital of “Trulli”. It was a cold and windy day, but we enjoyed it all the same and the weather kept the crowds away.
Alberobello was not the end of our Puglian adventure. We were yet to meet some of the relatives in San Fernando di Puglia.