The trulli of Puglia – one of Italy’s most unusual types of architecture – are also one of the most iconic. And staying in one of these historic cone-topped buildings is a must if you’re visiting Puglia, the beautiful southeastern region of Italy.
Scattered throughout the central Pugliese countryside, trulli pop their conical heads above olive groves and hedges. More like strange statues to some forgotten deity than dwellings, these buildings, peculiar to this southeastern region of Italy, are just as fascinating on the inside.
The UNESCO protected town of Alberobello has the biggest collection of trulli in the world. In fact the town’s centre is almost completely made up of them.
From cafes, restaurants and gift shops to hotels and private homes, the trulli of Alberobello are still very much in use.
We were keen to stay in one of these unusual buildings, so when Mrs Romance discovered Le Dieci Porte – The Ten Doors – a little out of town, I was very excited.
Alberobello is beautiful, but it can be overrun with tourists. It’s hard to relax when swarms of coaches keep arriving and just a few kms from town we discovered the trulli country retreat we were hoping to find.
Owners (and restorers) of Le Dieci Porte, Stella Sumerano and Christophe Girodon, have worked unceasingly to bring this beautiful hamlet of trulli not only back to its former glory, but to a place of true beauty and peace.
Born in the town of Alberobello 6km away, you could say that Stella has trulli in her blood. So when she met Christophe in France whilst travelling, it was only a matter of time before she came back to her home region bringing Christophe with her and introducing him to her proud heritage.
Her dream of rebuilding the deserted ruins of this little trulli village has come true thanks to the couple’s vision and hard work… and with a little help from Stella’s father, who’s a local builder.
The heritage and the challenge
From the ground up, this remarkable couple have developed what was once a ruin of rubble into 4 trulli and an apartment with enough space and amenities for up to 14 people.
The original trulli were made for simple living, with no plumbing or internal bathrooms. Trying to maintain that authentic feel and look of the trulli while having modern facilities drove Stella and Christophe to literally think outside the walls… or more specifically within them.
Trulli were designed to be drywall buildings, but had to be strong enough to hold the enormously heavy roof. Therefore the walls are always metres thick. It’s within the walls themselves that this remarkable couple have put the bathroom to each trullo.
And these aren’t just simple WCs either; each bathroom has a shower, lavatory, sink, vanity and even a bidet.
As for the bedrooms, they’re simply decorated, but with an attention to detail and personal styling that makes you feel very much at home in these endearing buildings.
A truly trulli bed and breakfast
After a notably peaceful sleep – thick walls and the Pugliese countryside make for a silent night – we were keen to see what breakfast means here at Le Dieci Porte.
We weren’t disappointed.
If you want to see what the combination of French and southern Italian hospitality creates, you’ll find it here. When we first arrived, Mrs Romance and I were a bit worried when Stella said breakfast would be ready at 8.15 the next morning. Very specific.
But she was only specifying 8.15 because that was when the local bakery delivered the warm, fresh delicious bread and cakes! Those – along with freshly sliced local meats like a capocollo ham from Martina Franca – were plates of burrata, goat curd, fresh figs and apricots, and all kinds of other goodies.
Dining at little wrought iron tables nestled beneath the shade of an old olive tree, it felt like we were taking a step back in time. The white pebbles of the little street and the fascinating roofs of the trulli gave us the feeling of an al fresco breakfast when this village was younger.
74015 Martina Franca
You can book directly on AirBnB and here’s a $50 credit for your first booking from us.
Note, they are closed over the winter as Christophe and Stella still have more work to do. There’s a whole area behind the current village that is still in ruin with many more trulli that they’re aiming to restore. With a vision to having the whole area reestablished over time, this B&B will be even more beautiful; it will be a focus of the countryside.
Have you ever stayed in a hotel or B&B like this? Have you stayed in a trullo? We’d love to hear your story. Tell us in the comments!