Not quite Zoo Safari adventures – Matera and Alberobello

I don’t think I’ve seen Scott so excited about going to the zoo, ever.  There’s a wild animal zoo safari about 3 hours east in Puglia (opposite coast) that we’ve heard great things about.  So we loaded up the family and headed out… We arrived to Alberobello late – but managed to find our romantic trulli in no time.  Even by night, this town was by far the most charming thing we’ve seen in Italy thus far.

The next morning proved to be even better.  The sun shinning down on these little white huts that line the cobble stone streets was like waking in another lifetime.  These 400 huts build in the 1700′s are very similar – all white, all round, and all have a cone roof.  Once inside they are surprisingly spacious.  Ours had 3 beds, a kitchen, living room, and bath.  Very quant and cute.  The stone walls kept it nice an cool.  We walked the town, not too much to see, the trulli’s are the main attraction here.  There seem to be people living in them as homes, as well as running businesses out of them.  I found the best handmade linens.  I wish I had bought more than just dish towels… But being a 15 min. drive to the Zoo Safari makes it a place I know we’ll return…

And the reason we’ll return… we’ll that’s a funny story.  Piper was napping when we arrived so we pulled up to the drive through entrance and parked to the side – we were 50 feet from the gates.  She slept for about an hour and a half – we were pretty entertained watching the camels and other wild animals litterally escape, only to be chased back in by an Italian – who seems to have a full time job wrangling the animals.  Once Piper woke up we decided to feed her, change her diaper and go to the bathroom ourselves.  Once we loaded up the car (with our $20euro worth of nuts, veggies and fruits for the animals and ourselves) we drove up to the gate ready to go.  Only to find out they closed 5mins ago….. What?  It’s 2pm?!  Yup, we’re closed…. you have to come back….  I’ve NEVER seen Scott so sad. He was totally upset “for Piper.”  Poor guy.  We were able to go into their walking part with amusement rides and a few animals.  Piper liked it.

Since Alberobello didn’t have much going on, we decided to continue our journey on to Matera and make a return visit to the zoo at a later date. This was a great decision.  Matera was AMAZING.  Hands down my favorite spot in a all of Italy… so far.  But I think it will be by the end as well.  In my opinion it should be on one of the must visit 20 wonders of the world list.  It was like Machu Picchu to me – But Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century… Sassi of Matera was built 9000 years ago… No joke.  While most of the cave houses dug into a limestone ravine, and the main city was really developed in 1100 there are dwellings that date back 9000 yrs.

It’s simply amazing to see.  You can’t drive in this area- only walk up and down these narrow paths of caves built on top of one another.  We even stayed in a cave hotel and ate dinner in a cave restaurant!  So cool. The area did not have water or electricity until recently – the city forced the inhabitants to leave in the 50′s due to unsanitary conditions – people were still living in caves with their livestock and no utilities… AMAZING!

If there is one place in Italy that people visit – this would be my recommendation.  It’s easy to imagine how people lived 1000 years ago in this cave city.  Love!!!

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