10 of the best true hotels in Puglia


It’s taken a while — almost 4,000 years since it was first inhabited, in fact — but word has finally got out about this southern Italian region of turquoise seas, sandy beaches, fertile countryside and white hilltop towns. In the 20 or so years since it opened up to international visitors, Puglia has developed a reputation for slow, thoughtful tourism, majoring on generous food and pioneering hotels, developed from ancient masserie, castelli and the distinctive trulli particular to the region.

So what exactly is a trullo? These tiny dry-stone huts with conical roofs — often likened to hobbit houses or peaked igloos — are found in the Valle d’Itria, a fertile plane in Puglia’s agricultural heartland, historically an area of ​​high taxation and extreme rural poverty. Farm workers built these mortarless huts as temporary dwellings or storehouses — so they could be quickly dismantled when the taxman came to call. These days, with a lot of love and even more imagination, they have been converted into some of the quirkiest hotels in Puglia. Don’t miss the opportunity to stay in one for a night or two.

Main photo: Leonardo Trulli Resort, Locorotondo (expedia.co.uk)

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Borgo Canonica, Cisternino
Borgo Canonica

1. Borgo Canonica, Cisternino

Best for design flair
The passion project of local architects Aldo Flore and Rosanna Venezia, this restored rural village (the borgo) is between Ostuni — known as the White City — and chic Cisternino. It’s home to 14 elegant rooms and suites within its 42 trulli — simple, stripped-back spaces of exposed stone, whitewashed walls, sun-bleached linens and handmade tiles. Once the lodgings of a community of farmer-monks, today the borgo sits pretty in six hectares of olive groves, lemon trees and lavender-scented maquis, with the sexiest of swimming pools at the centre. Olive-oil and wine tasting — check out the sweet trullo wine bar — along with cookery classes (using produce from the abundant kitchen garden) are available on site.

Spa N
Pool Y
Price £

Trulli Anti, Alberobello
Trulli Anti (booking.com)

2. Trulli Anti, Alberobello

Best for total immersion
In high summer, Alberobello can feel a little like Disney central: 1,600 trulli in a hilltop Unesco world heritage site bursting at the seas with curious visitors to explore. Trulli Anti is a refuge from the crowds, a group of six carefully restored structures, hidden in the narrow lanes otherwise crammed with trattorias, artisan makers and souvenir shops. Rooms here are simple, light and neatly furnished, with access to outdoor space and a shared pool — unusual in Alberobello. The town is well worth a stop (out of season), if only to enjoy its ineffable charm, the skill employed in its prehistoric building techniques and its unfailingly warm welcome.

Spa N
Pool Y
Price £

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3. Masseria Le Carrube, Ostuni

Best for rustic relaxation
Despite the position of this fortified farmhouse at the foot of the White City’s hill, Masseria Le Carrube is a world away from the bustle of metropolitan Ostuni. Once a francoio producing top-notch olive oil, the masseria still retains much of its rustic charm — though its 14 rooms and suites (plus one tiny trullo) are modern in design and slick in execution. Bougainvillea weaves throughout the courtyards, while lemon trees and cacti frame the house. This riot of vegetation reminds you of the plant-based message here, and Massimo Santoro’s vegetarian restaurant is one of the best in the region. For the ultimate indulgence, the super-luxe sister property Borgo Egnazia is a 30-minute drive away.

Spa N
Pool Y
Price £££

Truddhi, Trito
Truddhi

4. Truddhi, Trito

Best for simple pleasures
Truddhi is the dialect term for Puglia’s traditional trulli, and this cluster of ten charming apartments, deep in the green heart of the Valle d’Itria, has a strong sense of roots. Accommodation ranges from double studios (check out the sweet Corbezzolo) to the eight-bed Trullo della Nonna: all simple but well equipped, with domed ceilings, open fireplaces and private patios with sun loungers. Truddhi is all about growing your own, then sharing it: guests can pick tomatoes, figs, plums and apples from the walled garden and olives straight from the trees. There’s a communal alfresco kitchen with pizza oven, barbecue and dining area where, in the evenings, you can hang out with new friends and share a glass of the local Negroamaro.

Spa N
Pool Y
Price ££

Le Alcove, Alberobello
Le Alcove (expedia.co.uk)

5. Le Alcove, Alberobello

Best for age-old romance
Bang in the middle of the trulli houses of Alberobello, Le Alcove has a folksy charm. Each of its six conical rooms is named for an ancient profession — the poet, the weaver, the dreamer, the storyteller, the midwife and the knight — and though simple (the obligatory white walls, domed ceilings), design here is executed with flair . Touches of luxury such as four-poster beds, whirlpool tubs, underfloor cooling and flamboyant Grottaglie ceramics add to the sense of a refuge out of time. And it’s close enough to the celebrated two-storey Trullo Sovrano museum to allow visitors a glimpse of what real trullo living must once have been like.

Spa N
Pool N
Price ££

Masseria Cervarolo, Ostuni
Masseria Cervarolo (expedia.co.uk)

6. Masseria Cervarolo, Ostuni

Best for understated luxury
This 16th-century fortified farmhouse is that rare thing in Puglia: a luxury hotel that has a combination of restored trulli and boutique-style rooms that feel properly, peacefully luxe. The frescoed chapel here was once a place of pilgrimage, and that sense of stillness pervades the estate: whitewashed courtyards populated with bottle-green cacti and bright bunches of bougainvillea, shady communal areas with generous daybeds, and a sparkling pool in a repurposed sinkhole. Patrizia Avellino has reimagined Cervarolo with infinite care, recycling old farm objects throughout the 18 rooms and suites to create a genuine, earthy atmosphere. Chunky wooden doors are now bedheads and tables; yokes for beasts of yore make lamps and racks. Weekly cooking classes and wine-tasting sessions are free for guests, too.

Spa N
Pool Y
Price ££

7. Borgo Chietri, Alberobello

Best for hotel services
There are tiny trulli — and then there’s the four-star, 150-room Grand Hotel la Chiusa in Chietri, five minutes from the center of Alberobello, surrounded by impossibly green lawns and acres of cherry, almond and olive trees. In a more traditional Puglian package, the hotel also has its own dry-stone trulli village, Borgo Chietri, a handful of turreted rooms complete with air-con, minibars and Sky TV. Better still, you can make use of all the 21st-century hotel services: Nobis restaurant, Aura Sylva spa, indoor and outdoor pools and free summertime shuttles to the nearest beach clubs.

Spa Y
Pool Y
Price ££

Leonardo Trulli Resort, Locorotondo
Leonardo Trulli Resort (Gianni Buonsante)

8. Leonardo Trulli Resort, Locorotondo

Best for the bright and the beautiful
“The kind of beauty that infiltrates slowly” is what matters most at Leonardo — and hotelier Rosalba Cardone has put Nietzsche’s idea into practice with a collection of joyful rooms and suites divided between the carefully restored trulli and neighboring villino, decorated in the bright colors and powerful prints of the northern Salento region. Cardone and her chef, Francesco Cataldi, believe not just in living well — massage treatments, aromatherapy, a salt-water swimming pool and mountain bikes are all available — but in eating well, too. Trips, tours and tastings to local vineyards (the Negroamaro here is exceptional), olive-oil producers, farms and dairies are an extra treat.

Spa N
Pool Y
Price ££

Trulli Resort, Alberobello
Trulli Resort (booking.com)

9. Trulli Resort, Alberobello

Best for making an entrance
A helicopter parked on the lawn is the last thing you’d expect to find in front of your average Hobbit house, but Trulli Resort in the hills above Alberobello is taking its service culture to sophisticated new heights. It’s the closest you’ll get to a boutique hotel around here. The Hermes and Zeus suites are top of the range: perfectly pointed stonework, slick marble, cream chesterfields and white linens a pristine backdrop for the fashion-forward objets d’art that decorate the rooms. An infinity pool surrounded by elegant planting looks out across the village roofs and the spa offers massages and treatments. The resort can arrange day trips to Ostuni, Gallipoli and Polignano a Mare, as well as the opportunity for messing about in boats.

Spa Y
Pool Y
Price £££

Nina Trulli Resort, Monopoli
Nina Trulli Resort (expedia.co.uk)

10. Nina Trulli Resort, Monopoli

Best for the natural look
It’s easy to get back to nature at Nina Trulli Resort, once a countryside monastery, later a working farm and vineyard. The 11 trulli rooms and suites are filled with recycled furniture made by skilled local craftsmen, accented with creamy natural fabrics, textured woods, Pugliese ceramics, and a bunch of quirky objects found in a variety of barns and outhouses. The on-site restaurant, Orto, has hearty food sourced from the garden and orchard, while breakfast is served in the rustic splendor of the old farmyard. Natural treatments, massages, yoga and cookery courses are just a few of the activities available — along with trips led by local expert Marialuisa.

Spa N
Pool Y
Price £££

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