Benvenuti! Welcome to the Land of Trulli!
Next spring and fall we will once again be “Kicking Up Our HeelZ” in Puglia, the charming heel of Italy’s boot.
This was the seventh in a series of Puglia PostZ which I originally published a few years ago BEFORE I had actually visited Puglia!
Now, after four visits and looking forward to the fifth this October, I thought I would update this post with some of the many photos I’ve taken in this fascinating place…
My intention is to inform you about this unique region of Italy and, of course, to entice you into joining us!
Puglia PostZ #7: Let’s Visit the Trulli of the Itria Valley!
What are the trulli?
A trullo (plural, trulli) is a traditional Puglian dry stone hut with a conical roof which is found in the Itria Valley, in the southern Murgia area of Puglia.
Trulli were generally constructed as temporary field shelters and storehouses or as permanent dwellings by small proprietors or agricultural laborers.
Trulli have been around for many hundreds of years, though the oldest surviving ones date back only to the 16th century partially due to the fact that they were easily made and easily knocked down. Being easily dissembled was especially convenient when the property tax collectors came to town and arrived only to find little more than piles of debris. No sooner did they leave than the trulli and the locals would magically reappear!
The unique construction of a trullo:
A typical trullo has a cylindrical base with a conical, bee-hive shaped, limestone-tiled roof. Though built without cement (“dry stone”), their thick white-painted stone walls ensure coolness in the summer and warmth in the winter.
Roofs: The roofs are constructed in two “skins” with an outer skin of limestone slabs. Slightly tilted outward, they keep the structure watertight.
Pinnacles: Atop a trullo’s cone there is normally a hand-worked sandstone pinnacle (pinnacolo), that may be one of many designs – disk, ball, cone, bowl, polyhedron, or a combination thereof, and is supposed to be the signature of the stonemason who built the trullo.
Whitewashed symbols: The roof was often painted with a symbol which could be an evil eye, a cross or a sign of the zodiac.
Besides a simple cross, Christian symbols could be a cross on a heart pierced by an arrow (representing Santa Maria Addolorata, i.e. Our Lady of Sorrows), a circle divided into four quarters with the letters S,C,S,D in them (for Sanctus Christus and Sanctus Dominus according to one source, but more likely the initials of Santo Cosma and Santo Damiano, the two saints the local basilica is dedicated to) and quite a few others.
Interiors: The vast majority of trulli have one plastered, whitewashed room under each conical roof, with additional living spaces in arched alcoves where children would sleep with curtains hung in front. A multi-roomed trullo house has many cones representing a room each.
Where are the trulli found?
Valle D’Itria: The Valle D’Itria, between the towns of Putignano and Martina Franca, is the best place for trullo-hunting.
We will visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site and center of the Trulli District, Alberobello, where there is the largest concentration of trulli, and Locorotondo, whose white houses dominate the valley.
Alberobello: Strolling along the quartieri (districts) known as Monti and Aia Piccola, we will find streets of trulli. The Monti, comprising of over 1000 trulli on a hillside, has some of the oldest buildings while the Aia Piccola is known for its impressive network of narrow alleyways.
The town’s twin patron saints, Cosma and Damiano are celebrated on the 27th and 28th of September, when the faithful enter a frenzy adoring the sacred pictures kept in the local church.
Locorotondo: Rising above sea level at the junction of Bari, Taranto and Brindisi provinces, Locorotondo was probably settled several centuries before Christ. As is typical of so many towns, over the centuries, it experienced waves of growth, prosperity and turmoil. Today, Locorotondo offers breathtaking views over Valle d’Itria dotted with trulli.
Visiting the unique trulli of Puglia is a truly amazing experience!
We will be there next spring to savor it all! You will be there with us, won’t you??
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Questions? Contact Victoria