A ‘trulli-sassi’ day in Italy

By Judy Pfaffenberger
This item appears on page 45 of the January 2016 issue.
A ‘trulli-sassi’ day in Italy

Four of us did a driving trip in southeastern Italy in October 2003. We had a fantastic time! During our 2-week trip, we visited Rome, Venice, Florence, Amalfi, Tuscany, Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii, Pisa and the Cinque Terre, but it was our off-the-beaten-path destinations near the “heel of the boot” of Italy that made the trip very special.

This portion of Italy has hundreds of trulli (round stone structures with conical roofs that shelter people and animals), but the town of Alberobello has about 400 of them. It was quaintness on steroids!

From there, it was about a 2-hour drive westward to Matera, where the city center was filled with hundreds of sassi (ancient cave dwellings). We arrived just before sunset. It was off-season, and the sassi community was mostly deserted of day-trippers, giving it a very eerie quality. 

Our lodging was in a hostel that was actually a 3-story cave. It was connected to Hotel Sassi (Via San Giovanni Vecchio, 89, 75100 Matera MT, Italy; phone +39 0835 331009, www.hotelsassi.it [in Italian only]), which is still operating, though I think the hostel no longer is.

Trulli in Alberobello.

The hostel cave was basically one large room that had a shelf with bunk beds for men and another for women. It could sleep 30 people, but there were only us four. There was a sitting room on the ground floor and toilets and showers in a basement.

This was the most unusual place I’ve ever stayed, and it was my favorite. After having dinner in a little cave osteria, I brought back the leftover wine. We sat out on our little terrace, just soaking up the incredible silent atmosphere.


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