Last Summer I was invited to a wedding in Apulia. Apulia is the region which forms the heel of the Italian peninsula. It has amazing coastline, beautiful hills and stunning villages and cities without even mentioning the variety of food and how good it is. This visit was for me the first time.
Apulia, apart from being famous for its breathtaking landscape, is also renowned for its trulli. Trulli are cone shaped dwellings which dot the Itria Valley. The trullo (singular) is a structure whose internal space is covered by a dry stone vault. Most of the time these buildings were constructed for rural purposes and they used to be built as temporary shelters or, as permanent dwellings for small landowners or rural workers. There is also evidence that Trulli were already popular in Prehistoric time and they may have been used to bury deceased.
The oldest Trulli which can be found today are from the 16th century. Again, it is not clear why these buildings became so popular. One theory says that it could have been because of heavy tax laws in the 17th century. In fact, any permanent structure incurred a significant levy. Therefore, being able to topple the trulli with the removal of a single keystone when tax inspectors were in the area came very handy.
Apart from the very interesting history this dwelling has had it is an iconic element of the Apulian landscape. Everybody in Italy knows about trulli but nothing prepares you for their magnificence. I was already super excited when spotting them around in the countryside but arriving to Alberobello leaves you speechless. It’s a blaze, an outburst, and an apotheosis of Trulli. That is why Alberobello’s Trulli, in 1996, were declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Recently, Trulli have been very popular. While a few decades ago they were left in ruins, now they are restored into beautiful dwellings. Many of them remain parts of private houses, farms and estates but many have become restaurants, hotels, shops, etc. so that tourists can enjoy both their view and experience them. Therefore, if you ask me, I would suggest staying overnight in one of these buildings. Although it is touristy in Alborebello, it is also amazingly beautiful and it is really astonishing meandering and wandering through the little streets among 1000 trulli. But you can still experience the quiet Italian way of sitting outside your trullo talking to people next door while inviting the tourist inside a shop, restaurant, and/or bar. For the tourist it also remains an opportunity to see how these buildings are structured inside.