Puglia, southern Italy, the heel of the boot. The region is becoming increasingly popular as travellers discover the area’s varied charms: baroque towns, white-washed trullo houses, olive groves and orchards, blue sea and beaches, plenty of sunshine and excellent cuisine.
A trullo (plural, trulli) is a traditional pugliese stone dwelling with a conical roof. It is specific to Itria Valley, in the Murge area of the Italian region of Puglia. They may be found in the towns of Alberobello, Locorotondo, Fasano, Cisternino, Martina Franca and Ceglie Messapica. Traditionally trullo was built without any cement or mortar, thus avoiding taxation.
The roofs are constructed in two layers: an inner layer of limestone boulders, capped by a keystone, and an outer layer of limestone slabs ensuring that the structure is watertight. Originally, the conical structure would have been built directly on the ground, but most of the surviving structures are based on perimeter walls. In Alberobello atop a trullo’s cone there is normally a pinnacle, that may be one of many designs, chosen for symbolism. Additionally, the cone itself may have a symbol painted on it.
Today the surviving trulli (unfortunatelly, many of them still lying ruined in the countryside) are popular among English and German tourists and are often bought and restored for general use. Some are very carefully restored and converted to luxury villas and hotels (Le Alcove – Luxury Hotel nei Trulli, Abate Masseria & Resort, Masseria Quis Ut Deus…).
However, anyone wishing to restore a trullo needs to conform with many regulations as trulli are protected under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage law.
(By T. Jelaca)