Alberobello’s Trulli: Alberobello, Italy 2017
It’s a very interesting story on how I got to know about this place. When I was a child, I remember my grandfather used to order some travel magazines home every weekend. I was so keen on reading about the places the magazine would feature and to know about their history. One such magazine featured some tiny white houses scattered on a hill. I was too young to remember the exact place, but I knew it was in Italy and dreamt of going there someday. When I discussed about this same story to my friend Francesca (Yes the same one from my Bologna blog, can actually call her my travel advisor for the tours I did in Italy 😜), told me that she was sure they are the “Trulli”. Then I went asking like, what’s Trulli? She then shows me the pictures on her phone and YES, I finally figured out that the place was Alberobello, the capital trulli town! And trulli (trullo in singular) are those tiny whitewashed stone houses with conical roofs, that I had seen on the magazine!
And there I go planning for this trip! With my usual initial research, I got to know that the town is in the metropolitan city of Bari.
How to get there: From Bari Centro (train station), its about 90 minutes to Alberobello and costs around 5 euros one way.
As soon as you get down of the train station and walk towards the hilltop Rione Monte, you see all these beautiful scattered Trulli. Such a “dream come true” situation for me! By the way, the District Rione Monti, District Aia Piccola is a historical landmark and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, a famous destination to see trulli as there are hundreds of them lined up in several cobbled streets. Also, Italy’s Apulia region is well known for its trulli and that is how it got featured in the magazine I read when I was a child! The main idea here is not to have any plans and just wander around these tiny beautiful scattered fairytale houses!
“Trulli are several thousand years old and found around this Mediterranean region. Scattered rural settlements were present in the area of present day Alberobello around one thousand years ago (1000 A.D.).”
Being a Civil Engineer by profession, the first question that came up after looking at them closely was, how were they constructed and why?
They are a remarkable example of drywall or mortarless construction, built using roughly worked limestone boulders collected from neighborhood fields. The structural walls are laid directly on the bedrock, after removal of the topsoil when necessary. The walls are pierced by small windows, while fireplaces, ovens and alcoves are recessed into the thickness of the walls.
The reason behind constructing them in such a way is all about its history related to tax and money. The Acquaviva family, in the 1500’s, wanted to avoid paying taxes to the King and decided to order the local peasants to construct such mortarless houses so that in time of royal inspection, the houses can be quickly broken down lowering the tax bill. The most interesting part is that brilliant idea led to these trulli which are still standing good by fetching so much of economy in these times!
Why are trulli round?
“A number of conical roofs have a truncated top with a round hole in it covered by a movable circular slab. Access to the hole is by an outside stairway built into the roof. These were mainly for the storage of grain, hay or straw.”
The tourism attraction to this place fetches a lot of economy so you see lots of trulli have been now converted into souvenir shops, hotels and many such commercial purposes, that replaced the ancient livelihood.
You will also get invited by the shop owners to access the stairway of the trulli to see the roof construction in detail, obviously with a hope that you would purchase some souvenirs from them, like I did 😉
Stay in Trulli?
Yes, you can also get to stay in these beautiful tiny houses for just about 75 euros a night. They are also available to book with Airbnb for cheaper rates but requires advance booking, so keep that in mind whenever you plan to visit this fairytale homes!
Other places to look around here include:
1) Trullo Sovrano
The only trullo with two floors. It is now a small museum with the entry fee of around 1.5 euros. Do not miss to go see what’s inside of it. 😊
2) Sant’Antonio Basilica
This is the Alberobello town’s church. The trullo architectural design of the church makes it look like a bigger version of a Trullo!
You can also see that most of the trulli are painted with some christian symbols on their roofs. Make sure you do not forget to click a photograph at this famous spot just before reaching the church ⬇️
3) Casa d’Amore
It was built in 1797 by Francesco d’Amore to signify the end of Acquaviva family tyranny. It is the first in the area to be built by terracotta and mortar in its façade.
After spending quality time at this place to my fullest satisfaction, it was now time to go for my next destination. Yes, Naples city from the Campania region! Next Blog 😊