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Alberobello Italy - Places To Visit For Day Trips
Day Trips from Alberobello ~
Alberobello makes an ideal geographical location choice as a base from which to explore the very best of the Puglia region and southern Italy’s great places to visit. Here are some of the highlights that make excellent day trips can easily be done by car and many by public transport also. I have selected those that are close enough to give you time there to enjoy their individual qualities. Included also are approximate driving distances from Alberobello, home of the trulli.
The Sassi of Matera
Matera (56km / 35miles)
Situated in the neighbouring region of Basilica, Matera has got to be one of Italy’s most impressive and visually stunning places. Its world famous sassi of cave dwellings carved into the sides of cliffs, stand aloft and make an extraordinary landscape. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, Matera is said to be one of the oldest towns in the world. The caves were home to the Matera population along with their livestock and were a huge scandal in Italian history. The town was severely poverty stricken and by the 1950’s, more than half the population were still living in the sassi.
With its unique qualities reminiscent of biblical times, it is easy to see why it appealed to Mel Gibson and was featured in his film “The Passion of Christ”. Many of the caves have been transformed into restaurants, accommodation and shops but still retain their cave like appearance. Visiting Matera deserves a full day, maybe more so consider a night here in one of the cave hotels! Well within driving distance, by train you would need to take the FSE train to Bari and then the FAL line to Matera. Buses may also be taken from Bari.
Night at the Piazza - Ostuni
Ostuni (29km / 18miles)
Known as “La Citta Bianca”, The White City, Ostuni sits high over three hills and can be identified easily. With incredible architecture, Ostuni shines bright and is a landmark for the official end of the “Trulli Zone”, and the start of the Salentino Peninsula. With its close proximity to the coast, it is extremely popular in summer for trips to the beach and is one of the most visited towns in Puglia, swelling to three times its population. The town and surrounding area dates back to the Stone Age, and has an old town and new town, like many of Italy’s towns and cities. With a great mix of sights, restaurants and shopping, Ostuni is a big regional producer of Olive Oil, so why not take a bottle home with you from the market!
High on a Hill - Cisternino
Cisternino (13km / 9miles)
A small town of approximately 14,000, Cisternino is on the same train line as Martina Franca and very close to Alberobello. Another elevated town at 392m (1,286 ft), Spectacular views of the Itria Valley can be had here at different Piazza’s in the town as they are on the side of the hill. Much more laid back and slower paced, it is well worth a visit when so close to Alberobello. Surrounded on every side by olive trees, the main industries here are olives, grapes and tourism. A big tradition here, well worth experiencing when here is fornello pronto (translated as ready-to-go grilled or roasted meat) and is available from restaurants and butchers. You basically choose your own meat and they cook immediately on the spot for you!
A Stroll on the Piazza - Martina Franca
Martina Franca (11km / 7miles)
A stone’s throw from Alberobello, this charming town lies on a hill in the Valle d’Itria (Itria Valley) area of Puglia. Whitewashed buildings sit alongside detailed Baroque features. In the heart of “trulli country”, you will see trulli dotted around the town and surrounds. A most picturesque town with a population of approximately 50,000, tiny leafy lanes of brightest white with splashes of colourful floral displays are everywhere. The main area you want to be is the old town or centro storico. Here on the Piazza Roma, you will find the magnificent Palazza Ducale, now the town hall, library and tourist information centre where you will pick up maps, leaflets and information on the town and some well worth taking trips. There are two churches of amazing 18th century Baroque detail that should not be missed. The Basilica di San Martino, principle church of the town, and The Chiesa di San Domenico. If you are here during the end of July and beginning of August, you will have the opportunity to attend the Festival della Valle d’Itria. Annually held, this summer festival of opera and classical music is famous throughout Italy. With Martina Franca being the venue, concerts are on all over the town during this time, including at Palazza Ducale and Basilica di San Martino.
Zoo Safari & Fasanolandia
Fasano Zoo Safari (9km / 6miles)
Set in over 140 hectares, this zoo safari is Italy’s largest and has over 100 different species over five continents. Opened in 1973, the park is a place where you can get up close and personal with some of the animals. Driving your own vehicle through the main safari area, you will find where the more docile animals are, including camels, giraffes, deer and zebra. They may poke their heads through the car windows for a “nosey” so if you don’t fancy this, make sure your windows are up! The other part of the safari may be done by foot or a wee train that goes around and includes the Monkey Village, home to over 300 monkeys. Apart from the safari side there is also Fasanolandia, an amusement park with various funfair rides which may be included in your entrance ticket. Other attractions include Dolphinarium, Lake of the large mammals and The Reptile and Tropical Fish House. If you are planning on going I suggest you go early, particularly if driving as there can be lengthy queues. Another tip is to go to the local market in Alberobello and purchase your lunch and snacks to bring with you. There is a designated picnic area in which you can relax and enjoy at your leisure, rather than face the added expense of the various restaurants available.
Grotte di Castellana (13km / 9miles)
The Castellana Grotte (Castellana Caves), are the longest and most famous underground caves in Italy, having been discovered in 1938. The caves consist of numerous different chambers, all showing dramatic palettes of colour and shapes in stalagmites and stalactites. The most famous is the Grotta Bianca (White Cave), which is an amazing collection of ultra thin, ultra white stalactites. Tours in English are available here and will range from 50 minutes – 2 hours duration, where you will cover a distance of 1km – 3km of caves depending on if you include the Grotta Bianca. It is easily reached from Alberobello on the train or by car and very much worth seeing!
Back to Basics - Locorotondo
Locorotondo (6km / 4miles)
Situated between Alberobello and Martina Franca, this village has officially been given the title “one of the most beautiful” in Italy. A small village, Locorotondo is definitely worth spending a few hours in, wandering around and admiring its sheer beauty. Easily accessible by train and car from Alberobello, it makes a nice place to have a spot of lunch and sample their famous wines, particularly the Spumante. The historic centre is circular and consists of different architectural delights, ranging from baroque arches to aged facades. Apart from the trulli, you will also see here another unusual and unique building, called Cummerse. These have pointed gabled roofs and are dotted around the historic centre.
Useful Information -
- Reviews of Hotels, Flights and Vacation Rentals - TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor - Unbiased accommodation reviews, photos and travel advice for the Puglia Region.
- Grotte di Castellana
Official site for the Castellana Caves.
- UNESCO World Heritage Centre - World Heritage List
UNESCO World Heritage Centre with history of Matera.
- ZOOSAFARI - Fasano Brindisi - zoo animali puglia parco divertimento fasanolandia
Official website with all Information available in English and Italian
- Ferrovie del Sud Est e Servizi Automobilistici - HOME
FSE train/bus timetables, prices and Information.
Authors recommended reading -
Learn Italian with Me: First Lesson
- Learn Italian with Me: First Lesson
A not very serious introduction to the Italian language, from the point of view of an old beginner.