Yours Trulli

June 17, 2011 / Places
Alberobello, Puglia

I recently spent five glorious days revisiting Puglia and one of the places I enjoyed most was Alberobello. That is the beauty of travelling in Italy: once is never enough!

This was my third visit to the UNESCO world heritage site, and I could focus less on the quaint and irresistible charm of the round tiled roofs set on the square-based structures, and more on their history.

The town is ensconsed in thick groves of olive and almond trees that thrive on the dry, bouldered soil of Puglia. In fact the soil is so rocky that new stones come to light every time the soil is tilled, thus creating an endless supply of light-weight stones that can be used as rooftiles.

The history of these unusual dwellings dates back to the second half of the 15th century when the territory was ruled by the Aquaviva family, who had introduced some forty families into the region to clear the terrain. Over time, the land was populated by these farmers who learned to cultivate the rough land, rendering it extremely fruitful.

However, during the same period, the Kingdom of Naples had enacted legislation requiring all new towns to pay a heavy tax. In response, the feudal lords ordered their tenants to build ‘dry’ dwellings without the use of mortar, so that they could easily be pulled down in the case of royal inspection, cunningly avoiding taxation!

In 1797 a group of brave citizens petitioned the Bourbon King Ferdinando IV who, by royal decree, in May of the same year set the village free.

Barbara Goldfield

by Barbara Goldfield

Owner of “Savour The Sannio”, www.savourthesannio.com, a travel consultancy for central and southern Italy.

17 Responses to “Yours Trulli”

  1. Cosa c’e’ da dire solo che tutti noi dobbiamo vivere da qualche parte anche se non e’ per scelta…

    Randazzo, Giovanni

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  2. Joanne

    I would love to see these magical houses on a trip to Italy —

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  3. Frank Cleary

    Having lived an hour south of there for 3 years in the 70’s we visited often. We also have never failed to revisit it whenever we visit southern Italy. It’s a magical place that really hasn’t changed much since the 70’s.

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  4. This is really a magical place. I was born near Trulli and have since returned with my husband and children. They loved it as well.

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  5. The Primitivo wine from there is as INCREDIBLE as the houses! Nice article Barbara. Thanks.

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  6. Sto fissando una gita di sud d’italia la primavera prossima, forse dopo un po di tempo in Abruzzo – quest’edizione di “Italian Notebook” e` molto utile! Grazie tanto, Barbara!

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  7. Rick Black

    My wifa and I lived not too far from Alberobello in the 70’s. Back then the city had wonderful things to buy, most high quality locally made goods. They sold woven bedspreads that, 40 years later, are still being used. The last time we were there, everything was made in china and, simply put, junlk.

    Very sad, but at least the buildings are well kept.

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  8. giuseppe spano (jojo)
    giuseppe spano (jojo)

    being Pugliese,we understand OUR ARABIC HERITAGE. They gave us Trulli or at least the malocchio along with other strange things. But Puglia is a wonder that all should experience.

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  9. Donna Ferrara

    This is the hometown of my maternal grandmother, Rosa Sofia Angiulli. She was born in a trullo in 1889. I visit family here every year, usually in the fall. My son, Jaymes J. J. Sherry, and I translated the book I Trulli Perche’ of our uncle, Gino Angiulli, about six years ago. For a while, this English-language edition was sold in the shops in the historic area. I love this town! I concur with all of the wonderful things said by the others who have commented – especially about the Primitivo!!!

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  10. vanna moore

    what a lovely town, I have visited years ago with our son and three of his friends, all teenagers at the time, and we were all enchanted! Thanks for the history lesson too, Barbara! Vanna

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  11. Joanne

    My sister and I stopped in Trulli when we were traveling through Southern Italy a few years ago. We found it enchanting.
    Rick is right. I had a difficult time finding something to take home as a remembrance of the town. Only found a Trulli house shaped bank for my bank collecting neighbor.

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  12. Janet Eidem

    Your beautiful writing coincides with a great article in La Cucina Italiana magazine about the area, focusing on the unique cheeses made there. Brava Barbara!

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  13. joanne duetsch

    i have been here…very memorable since this is where my family is from….some family still live there…. would very much like to return….

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  14. Anthony J. Cimino

    Several years ago my wife and I,and our daughter, stayed in Alberobello,in a trulli. There were several available to rent. It was a magical stay

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