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Italy Road Trip Part 2 - Pompeii to Alberobello

Two UNESCO sites, Smurf-like houses and delicious Puglian Food

This is Part 2 of our Italy Roadtrip: Pompeii to Alberobello. Click here to read Part 1 (Caserta to Sorrento) and view our full 7 day itinerary below.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Caserta – Sorrento (Magi House)

Day 2 – Sorrento

Day 3 – Pompeii – Trani (Al Vico)

Day 4 – Trani – Alberobello (Trullo Antì)

Day 5 – Polignano a Mare

Day 6 – Locorotondo - Ostuni - Lecce

Day 7 – Lecce – Trani


Pompeii has been on my bucket list since I missed my primary school’s field trip to the UNESCO site in the 5th grade. After having lived in Italy for so many years, I was a little embarrassed to admit I still hadn’t visited this remarkable site, so I was more excited than the girls about our visit.

I’m happy to report that Pompeii didn’t disappoint. I had booked our tickets online so all we had to do was scan the printable tickets at the entrance and avoided a very long queue (here’s the link to book your tickets online).

Parent Tip: the ruins are spread over a large area, so be prepared to do a lot of walking and bring lots of water and snacks with you as there are no services inside the site, only toilets. I also wouldn’t recommend bringing a stroller. There are no paved sidewalks, and the cobblestones are not like your typical Roman stones, but extra-large Etruscan specimens!

"Pompeii had been on my bucket list since 5th grade and I'm happy to say it didn't disappoint."

Once you’re inside you can wander along the cobblestoned streets, and pop into the many tiny shops, houses and villas that are relatively well maintained. Pompeii was a tight knit community, people lived shoulder to shoulder with their neighbours, and I could imagine just how busy and lively it must have been before the volcano erupted and covered the town with ash and lava.

The streets all lead to a large piazza in the center of the town which used to house a temple and outdoor market. On the outskirts of the town, and furthest from the entrance to the site is the auditorium. If you look down towards the sea you can enjoy a fabulous view of the bay of Naples, whereas behind you is a hazy view of Mount Vesuvius , a quiet reminder of its impressive power.


Our next stop was meant to be Alberobello in Puglia, but we had a little car trouble and while we waited for our car to be repaired we discovered a small port town we never would have planned to visit, called Trani. This picturesque medieval seaport town sits on Puglia’s rocky coast, about 40km north of Bari on the Adriatic Sea. It’s surprisingly rich in history and culture with the main church, Trani Cathedral, dating back to the 11th century. Trani was one of the largest Jewish communities of Southern Italy in the 12th century, and is well known for its recently restored 13th century castle. Its port, well placed for the crusades, became the most important port on the Adriatic Sea and in the year 1063 Trani issued the Ordinamenta et consuetudo maris, which is "the oldest surviving maritime law code of the Latin West”.

One of my favourite things about Puglia was the food. In Trani we ate at Osteria La Banchina which serves amazing seafood. We started with fried calamari, polipetti and some grilled vegetables, followed by our favourite pasta dishes: Spaghetti alle vongole (clams) and Spaghetti all’astice (lobster). My husband tried the swordfish and loved it. Book to avoid disappointment during the busy months. The restaurant also has some rooms upstairs which you can stay in. I didn’t see any hotels in town. We stayed in a private apartment ( B&B al Vico), which I booked last minute. The owner, Isabella, was very friendly and even picked us up from the car dealership where we left our car and drove us into town. The apartment was just off the harbour; it was clean and had all the essentials even for a quick breakfast in the morning. The next day, Isabella’s father picked us up and drove us back to the car dealership; a true example of Italian hospitality and warmth.

I was grateful for our unexpected detour because we never would have come across a hidden gem such as Trani. Every corner of this beautiful country is unique and full of cultural and historical significance, and every region has its unique cuisine, customs and distinctive aesthetic. Upon crossing into Puglia from the Campania region, the landscape changed, from the zesty smell of lemon trees, we were welcomed by a drier landscape with olive trees and rocky terrain. The people are just as friendly as they are in Campania, but more reserved and courteous, still helpful, but calmer. I was immediately struck by the beautiful whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old farmland and the rocky Adriatic coastline. Puglia has quickly become one of my favourite Italian regions.


As we drove away from the coast and into the Itria Valley, we started noticing some small, white and grey stone huts scattered around the countryside and on the side of the road. They are the world renowned Trulli, traditional Puglian homes dating back to the 4th century. They are made of limestone and the walls are painted white, they have grey conical roofs and some have painted symbols on them, creating an enchanting effect. These dwellings, now a popular tourist attraction, have humble origins, and were built when the construction of stable dwellings was highly-taxed; the inhabitants of the region thus boasted a great capacity to adapt, and an exceptional cleverness in coming up with the idea for the Trulli, temporary houses built with the local stone.

Trulli are specific to central-southern Puglia and the most famous town with the most Trulli is Alberobello. This is where you can see 1,500 trulli grouped together to make up a community that looks like no other in Italy. It is so unique that it is now a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. The Trulli are homes, hotels, and boutiques. The largest Trullo in town has been converted into a museum. 

So of course, we had to stay in a Trullo while visiting Alberobello! We were lucky enough to stay at Angelo’s Trullo Anti’, a meticulously decorated Trullo with 2 bedrooms and a lovely patio area where we relaxed and enjoyed our meals. Bikes were supplied too, so we were able to discover Alberobello like a local. Trullo Anti’ was the perfect size for the four of us and needless to say, the girls loved the experience of staying in an almost child-size house.

The town of Alberobello is small and everything can be seen on foot or by bike. From the village with 1,500 Trulli, to the Trullo Sovrano museum and the Basilica of St. Cosmas & Damian, Alberobello is an enchanting place and I couldn’t recommend it enough. We enjoyed some delicious typical Puglian food such as orecchiette pasta, at the Trullo D’Oro and coffee and local pastries at the Central Bar. For lunch we went to the Antica Salumeria del Corso and stocked up on fresh local cheeses & a selection of cured meats, like prosciutto & bresaola, and some fresh bread, and enjoyed a picnic lunch in our patio garden.

The girls loved this enchanting fairytale town and we spent a full day discovering the Trulli village. Aside from some souvenir shops, there are many Trulli boutiques in the village selling traditional goodies from the region. Puglia is known for its wines, olive oil and beautiful ceramics. There are tile shops, ceramics stores, linen shops and specialty food shops with delicious wines and olive oil. I bought a beautiful ceramic olive oil bottle from Frantoio Muraglia hand painted with colourful rainbow stripes, which will look beautiful in my kitchen even after all the olive oil is gone.

Alberobello isn’t the only attraction worth a visit in the Itria Valley. During our stay in our charming Trullo, we explored some of the nearby historical towns and countryside, where old customs and religious traditions still live untouched.


Stay tuned for Part 3 of our roadtrip, where we visit Locorotondo, Polignano a Mare, Ostuni and Lecce, before making our way back home to Rome.

Ciao for now!

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