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Phenomenal houses in Puglia; Sassi and Trulli

We live in a caravan, equipped with many conveniences. Limited in space, yet fairly comfortable with amenities from this century. In Matera and Alberabello, people lived and lived a little less comfortably in the last century. Cave dwellings were the trend in Matera and Trulli cottages in Alberobello. However, now, in 2023, these houses have still been renovated there. Yet there are original houses to visit here and there.

The cave dwellings of Matera

Because we don't want to drive in a stretch to the south of Puglia, we choose Matera. This is actually just not in Puglia. The campsite doesn't impress that much, in fact so little that I forget to film it.

Matera, on the other hand, makes a wonderful impression. It starts when we have parked and arrive at the viewpoint over the district of the Sassi (cave houses). Phenomenal, what a special view.

These cave dwellings were inhabited until the fifties/sixties. About forty thousand people lived in this part of the city at the time. Which means that about nine people lived in a cave house. Plus the animals they had. They just lived together in it. Due to hygiene, people were no longer allowed to live there and were moved to another part of the city. Renovation of the Sassi only started since the late 1980s and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the early 1990s.

We choose to walk the tourist trail, but soon we take the side streets. Dead end stairs up and down again haha. The atmosphere is immediately good. Small shops in renovated cave houses, flowers, art, enthusiastic Italians, it's the little things that do it to him in the Sassi. We do not choose the large and most touristy cave house that you are obliged to go with a tour, but one that is a little further away where you can walk around independently.

Casa grotta del Casalnuovo A cave house consisting of five parts. On the ground floor is the kitchen, the living area, but also the bedroom that is just in the middle of the living area. The bed is almost a meter from the ground, for hygiene and above the bed there is another cot. One floor below were the animals. The donkeys, horses, chickens, dogs and there was also the material to work the land with. And another floor below was the storage for wine and food.

Next to this cave house is also Andrea's crypt. A monastery church dating back to the twelfth century. As we go out, we talk to a man (owner?) Which is in the corresponding shop. His parents has lived in a cave house, he didn't. They went to Matera's new construction in 1958. It is special for him to work here. He tells us that from the hill ‘across’ of the city, you can also see the Sassis very well. There are even more cave dwellings in these hills. We are still trying to get here, but the road to it is unfortunately closed to cars. You can walk there, but we didn't have a puff for that anymore.

The Trullis in Alberobello

Because many campsites are closed, we choose to drive from Matera to Alberobello by car. This is almost a 1.5 hour drive, but yes we are ‘nearby’ now. Alberobello is the ‘capital’ of the Trulli houses. Round cottages, usually painted white, with a conical roof. Sometimes decorated with a symbol on the roof, intended to keep evil out. On the way to Alberobello we already see several houses. Sometimes alone on land, sometimes small numbers together.

These cottages were built from the 15th century without cement. In this way they could be quickly broken down if the tax had to be paid. Every time the tax collector came to do his count, they were quickly broken down. For example, the tax amount due was a lot lower. After departure, the houses were rebuilt. The houses were simple, but wonderfully cool in the warm summers. Trulli houses were still built until the 1920s. Alberobello is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of these homes. The Trulli houses have always been inhabited and you can now also spend the night there. They are like small hotel rooms. In Alberobello you have a tourist district, Rione Monti and a neighbourhood that is a bit more authentic, Aia Piccola. Both are beautiful and have their charm. In Aia Piccola there is an authentic Trulli on display, you can see this in our vlog (at least I assume Rudolf puts this in haha). In this part, the Trulli are also inhabited and you can spend the night yourself. In the tourist part is a beautiful Trulli church, where a mass was just going on when I entered. A special experience. Furthermore, you have more the tourist shops here etc. We personally actually liked Aia Piccola a bit more to walk through, but they are close to each other.

A Sassi or a Trulli?

My preference is the Sassi and the slightly more authentic atmosphere of Matera. Alberobello we find it a bit too touristic. Although a Trulli on the farmland is also very attractive to see. But for now it's a caravan at a campsite somewhere in Europe 😀.

Ciao Tutti, from Gallipoli


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