Alberobello, Trulli WonderfulApril 15, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C
Nothing could have prepared me for the uniqueness of our next stop, Alberobello, not to mention its cuteness factor.
As we approached the town, we began seeing some examples of what we came here for: the trulli of Puglia.
Trulli have been around for many hundreds of years, though the oldest surviving ones date back only to the 16th century.
One of the most common theories for the origin of the Trullo involves the tax laws of 17th Century Italy. It is known that the nobility of the time imposed heavy taxes on any permanent structure. Thus, the theory goes that the peasant families, not able to bear the burden of this tax, built their dwellings so that they could be literally demolished at a moment’s notice! Because a conical roof depends largely on the ‘topmost’ stone to prevent the roof from caving in, the peasant owner was able to literally demolish their house simply by removing this stone. Imagine the taxman's surprise when he arrived at Locorotondo, Alberobello or Fasano, only to find mounds of rubble and virtually no houses! As soon as the inspectors went away, the trulli would spring up again and the locals would move back in!
A typical trullo has a cylindrical base with a cone-shaped limestone-tiled roof. Originally built without cement, their thick white-painted stone walls ensured coolness in the summer and warmth in the winter. The roof was often painted with an evil eye, a cross, or an astronomical symbol, topped off with an ornamental flourish. In more recent times, the use of mortar is commonplace.
Walking through the streets, surrounded by these odd little buildings, I was half expecting to run into Smurfette or Papa Smurf, such is the fairy tale feeling of this place.
We visited the sovereign trullo, which is the only two-storey building with a staircase built into it. The woman working there gave us quite a history lesson, describing how it is believed the design of these buildings originated with the Turkish prisoners who were put to work following their capture during one of the many battles that took place at the time. Unfortunately, there are a lot of different versions as to who dreamed them up, and without any accurate written record, it’s impossible to know which one is true.
Although they are not exclusive to this city, in Alberobello alone, there are more than eighteen hundred trulli, one of which Brenda and I called home for a night.
In order to support the enormous weight of the stone roof, numerous arches are built into the walls to distribute the load. Of course, this fact, combined with the shorter average height of the medieval residents, made for a stay fraught with the danger of my head impacting the structure. Naturally, within ten minutes of our arrival, I struck the door frame on the way out, and I have the scar to prove it. The shower stall made for another vertical challenge.
Other than the constant fear of concussing myself and the contortions required to shower, our stay was delightful, and we could virtually imagine what life might have been like here hundreds of years ago.
We ended our evening with a wonderful dinner at Casa Nova restaurant, whose staff went to great lengths to accommodate Brenda’s gluten intolerance.
Any visit to Puglia would not be complete without a visit to this magical place.Read more