Trulli at twilight

After settling into our own personal little trulli, which forms our base for the next few days, we’re off out into Alberello again to spy some of these delightful little architectural gems in the dark!

The trulli of Alberobello have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996 and it’s not hard to see why!


A trullo (plural, trulli) is a traditional Apulian dry stone hut with a conical roof. Their style of construction is specific to the Itria Valley, in the Murge area of the Italian region of Apulia.

There are lots of theories behind the origin of the trullo design.

One of the most popular ones is that due to high taxation on property, the people of Apulia built dry stone wall constructions so that they could be dismantled quickly when tax inspectors were in the area.

In Alberobello, on top of the cone of a trullo, there is normally a hand-worked sandstone pinnacle (pinnacolo), that may be one of many designs: disk, ball, cone, bowl, polyhedron.

You can see them below – and these pinnacles are supposed to be the signature of the stonemason who built the trullo.

Additionally, the cone may have a symbol painted on it (as shown below on the trulli in Via Monte Pertica)

Such symbols include Christian symbols such as a simple cross, a cross on a heart pierced by an arrow representing 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 to whom the local basilica is dedicated) and quite a few others.

The symbols now visible on the trulli above – a cross, pierced heart, host with rays radiating from it, tree, dove symbolising the Holy Spirit, and crescent with a cross – were painted in the late twentieth century and the early 2000s when the roof cones were renovated.

Awesome Alberobello

We’re heading to our base for a few nights now – the incredible trulli town of Alberobello. If you’ve not heard of it before then brace yourselves!

Alberobello is a town in Italy’s Apulia region and it is famous for its trulli – adorable whitewashed stone huts with conical roofs. They’re fairytale like, something you expect a hobbit to pop out of!

We somehow accidently coincided our visit with a local festival of light meaning that the small town is absolutely heaving! But more of that later.

But for now it’s all about the trulli – a sight I have been desperate to see from the moment I learnt of their existence!

These curious conical-roofed whitewashed structures, clustered in pockets of Puglia, are an icon of the region. In fact, this part of south Italy is the only place they have ever existed.

Alberobello is the place to see Puglia’s finest and largest concentration of trulli which brings people to Alberobello. Lots more of these amazing little places to come!

Lovely Locorotondo

Next up on our 2019 Puglian adventure is another beautiful white city – Locorotondo.

Locorotondo – in Latin, Locus Rotondus: quite literally “rounded place.”

The historical centre has a circular footprint, with narrow alleys that make a tight circle around the Chiesa Madre di San Giorgio.

You can spot cummerse – that’s the local name for the pitched roofs which are typical of the region – such as the one below and are made with chianchiarelle, limestone slabs that are locally sourced.

The city has a wealth of little alleyways to explore, offering shady spots to escape the sweltering Italian sun.

Cyclamen and begonias enliven every stone stair way while the hubby finds the perfect eating spot.

And no space is left unutilised – every nook and cranny is packed full of pots, plants, cycles and little cafes.

Ostuni

We’re coming close to the last foreign trips of 2019 now with a wonderful visit to Puglia – one of the lesser known regions of Italy.

First up we’re exploring one of the many white villages that cling to the hillsides – this one is Ostuni (actually a city)

The region around Ostuni has been inhabited since the Stone Age.

The town is reputed to have been originally established by the Messapii – a pre-classic tribe, and destroyed by Hannibal during the Punic Wars. It was then re-built by the Greeks and the name Ostuni comes from the Greek Astu néon “new town”.

Ostuni is commonly referred to as “the White Town” – La Città Bianca – for its white walls and its typically white-painted architecture. This is blindingly bright in the hot Italian sunshine!

Specialities of the region include olive oil which comes in a wide variety of attractive packaging.

With the sparse white washed walls as a backdrop, everything feels like an outdoor art gallery – even mundane signs.

This doorway to the blue beyond has a more Grecian vibe about it! And the colour of that sky looks photoshopped – but I assure you that it is not!

Lots more whitewashed walls punctuated with splashes of bold colour or refreshing succulent plants.

The town’s largest buildings are Ostuni Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace.

Below you can also see an elegant loggia (a covered exterior gallery or corridor usually on an upper level). It is the Arco Scoppa, connecting the Bishop palace to the Seminary.

As usual I spend more time homing in on the myriad of tiny details rather than the big architectural sights! I think I prefer the minutiae to the big stuff.

For a first stop in Puglia, Ostuni makes a big impact. You could probably spend a day or two here wandering the maze of sprawling alleyways and discovering hidden courtyards that invite you to lounge on brightly coloured cushions!

Kioni – Kefalonian perfection

We’ve nearly come to an end of our Kefalonian adventure, from way back in 2019 (when we were allowed to travel – sigh)

And there’s no better place to end than in the picture postcard perfect Greek paradise of Kioni.

Its glorious waters are just too tempting and we both have a wonderful splash about in the shallow waters of one of the little coves.

I can almost feel the heat and smell the wonderful aromas from one of the many bakeries serving up traditional cheese pies!

Ithaca is one of the prettiest places I have been in Greece. It’s got everything you could wish for from a Greek island – pristine waters, bustling harbour and plenty of traditional grub to get in your face.

That’s it from Kefalonia, definitely worth a visit when you can. It’s a gem of an island.

Enchanting Ithaca

The lovely little island of Ithaca has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC. It may have been the capital of Kefalonia during the Mycenaean period.

The island is generally identified with Homer’s Ithaca as the home of Odysseus, whose delayed return to the island is the plot of the classical Greek tale The Odyssey. Below is a statue of the tale’s hero.

But forget ancient history, we’re heading to the treats of the present – namely icecream!!! Brain freeze but worth it!

My little Greek hero gets in on the posing action!

Here’s a selection of colourful snaps from the busy bustling little harbour shops. From fridge magnets to multicoloured woven rugs.

As well as tacky souvenirs, there’s plenty of tasty Greek treats to tempt your taste buds – as well as food for the English palette too.