Home to the trulli of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Alberobello, Puglia is one of the richest regions in Italy for archaeological findings and an incredibly self-sufficient area with locals making everything from olive oil to limoncello. As Lara and Terry were on the lookout for less discovered travel destinations and with over 100 trulli available to rent on HomeAway.co.uk, Puglia was an obvious choice for the Grantourismo project.
Eager to learn more about the history of these particularly Puglian dwellings, Lara and Terry stayed in this charming and characteristic trullo located near the famous city of Alberobello. To learn more about this property, we talked to its owner, Marijke Schaap, about her love of Puglia and her decision to make the trullo into a holiday home. We also found out Marijke's tips for living like a local in Puglia as well as her top recommendations for travellers.
For more great tips and inspiration about things to do and see in Puglia, read all Lara and Terry's posts on Puglia.
Why did you choose to buy a property in Puglia?
We lived in Italy for 10 years and our three children were all born there, so Italy feels like our second home. We wanted to have a place in Italy where we could always return to. And so it happened. Why Puglia? Partly for the lovely people, partly for the beautiful villages and cities, partly for the beautiful heritage buildings, the beautiful sandy beaches and last but not least the great food!
When did you buy the property?
We bought the trullo in 2003. At that time still a lot had to be done; we restored the old trullo and were very keen to maintain the old characteristics of the property. We built a beautiful swimming pool and a fourth bedroom with bathroom that was finished in 2010.
Why did you decide to make it into a holiday home / rent it out?
Two years ago we moved from Europe to the Far East. At that time we decided to rent it out as a holiday house partly due to the fact that we could not make use of it very often and partly because it would be a waste not to let the house and surroundings be used by others. We believe that a house should be lived in.
On average, how many weeks do you rent out per year, and during which months?
The house is rented out around 12 weeks a year. The summer months of July and August have been fully booked for the past two years. Other popular months are May and June.
Why should people come to visit Puglia?
All the reasons why we fell in love with Puglia: the food, the people, the beaches, the authentic villages and cities.
What are your top tips for ‘living like a local’ in Puglia?
Try to stay in a trullo. That could be a trullo in Alberobello or a trullo in the countryside. Make sure you see pictures of the trullo you are planning to rent, because there are some that in our opinion have lost a lot of their characteristics.
Visit local markets; every village or city has their specific market days. This is also the place to buy fresh local products; you can find out the different markets by asking the locals. A very good source of information is the tourist office in Martina Franca (just at the entrance of the old city, near the entrance gate).
Bake your own pizza in our pizza oven. Kids love it; they can decide what they want to put on their pizza, even Nutella (very simple and delicious as a desert: just put some Nutella on a hot baked pizza base!). If you are not staying in a trullo with a pizza oven, you could consider taking a cooking class.
Learn a few words in Italian. The people in Puglia are very easy to connect with and with a little bit of Italian you can make them smile.
What is you favourite place in Puglia?
We had some difficulties to choose, but in the end we chose Monopoli , an old harbour city; with lots of atmosphere! Go for dinner at Perricci in the old harbour quarter, a local fish restaurant.
What is your favourite local dish and the best place to enjoy it?
Definitely not the famous “orrechiette con sugo al pommodoro”. Our favourite local dish is by far the Puglian antipasti. Most of the restaurants serve a mix of antipasti. Let them surprise you!
What’s the best thing for travellers to take home as a souvenir from Puglia?
We would bring home Puglian ceramics. The best choice can be found in Grottaglie, famous for its pottery.
Marijke owns a traditional trullo in Puglia located near the famous city of Alberobello and only 20 minutes from the beach. The property is available to rent on HomeAway.co.uk (Property 413448).
This is a very charming and characteristic trullo near the famous city of Alberobello. The property has been renovated during the last three years and the owners wanted to keep and restore all the old characteristics of the trullo, giving it a lot of charm with its arches, old pavements and little niches. The property also features a big swimming pool, as well as an original functioning old fireplace and an old outside pizza oven.