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.