Trulli in Alberobello
Trulli are world famous for their characteristic beauty and uniqueness and represent one of the most extraordinary examples of Italian popular architecture. Trulli are typical stone houses of Alberobello, in southern Puglia, which use a technique dating back to prehistoric times and still used in this region. These constructions are the refinement of the prehistoric “thòlos”, present in various areas of Italy; however trulli are distinguished from them by their continuity of use. Trulli generally served as temporary shelters or as permanent homes for small landowners or agricultural workers. This building technique spread primarily due to the geographical conditions of the place, which abounded in limestone that could be used in construction.
Trulli are extraordinary examples of traditional stone building with a conical roof made of dry-set slabs, without mortar or concrete. In the walls there is a door and small windows. The interior, with a single room, contains niches for the fireplace, the bed and various furnishings. The structure allows excellent internal air conditioning: cool in summer and warm in winter.
The roofs of the buildings often bear inscriptions in white with a mythological or religious significance, and end with a decorative pinnacle which was intended to drive away evil influences or bad luck.
Although the rural trulli are scattered throughout the Itria Valley, which stand out with their white walls and famous cone roofs, the maximum concentration of the best preserved examples of this architectural form can be found in the town of Alberobello. Alberobello is universally known as the capital of trulli, each with a different shape and size. Often they are a single construction, or combined in a complex of communicating houses. Some have two floors. The oldest trulli that we find today in Alberobello date back to the fourteenth century.
These traditional houses have given Alberobello the recognition of World Heritage Site.
Today in Alberobello it is possible to visit the Monti district, consisting of about 1030 trulli, including the ‘Siamese trulli’, characterized by a double façade, double pinnacle, low fireplace and no windows. These trulli are lined up along the edges of eight irregular streets that proceed towards the top of the hill, on the top of which stands the church of Sant’Antonio da Padova, also in the shape of a trullo. The Church of Sant’Antonio is preceded by a monumental entrance and a staircase topped by a rose window. The church has a Greek cross plan and side chapels with sail roofs, and a bell tower.
Many of the trulli in this area house small shops and artisan shops where you can do some shopping.
To admire the Rione Monti from above and enjoy a spectacular view, just go to Alberobello centre, in Gian Girolamo D’Acquaviva D’Aragona square: here is the Belvedere terrace (or Santa Lucia Terrace).
Then there is the Rione Aja Piccola, a village made up of a network of narrow and winding alleys that includes 400 trulli, almost all inhabited.
Also in Alberobello, in piazza Sacramento 10, we find the “Trullo Sovrano”: the only two-storey trullo, which today houses a museum.
The Casa dell’Amore (House of Love) is the first house built with lime in 1797, and today houses the tourist office.
Between one district and another, a stop in one of the city’s trullo restaurants is a must, to taste local delights such as pasta “orecchiette” with turnip tops and taste the typical products of the area.
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