The trulli

The trullo (trulli in plural) is a typical rural construction of the Murgia dei Trulli, a plateau located between the cities of Bari, Brindisi and Taranto, in the region of Puglia (see section Puglia) in the "heel" of Italy.
As you will often read, trulli have crossed the centuries and generations. The first examples resembling very closely those we know today were built in the prehistoric period. They were tholos, rounded buildings that were used to bury the dead.
The oldest trulli that can be seen today are those of Alberobello, dating back to the 14th century. But the first ones were probably built around the year 1000.
Their heyday dates back to the 19th century when the large estates were split into smaller ones and rented out on long leases. Later on, the development of the wine industry gave them their fame.
The architecture of the trulli is characteristic of Puglia, a region that abounds in the stones with which they were built. It was a rural building used as a temporary or seasonal or permanent dwelling for peasants and farm workers. They are scattered in the countryside or also gathered in agglomerations like in Alberobello.
The trulli are built in compact limestone, from which the stones are extracted, or in white tuff. The walls are placed on the rocky layer previously cleared of humus. The materials are generally laid dry, i.e. without mortar. The load-bearing walls are very thick (about 1 m), but they are not high (up to 2 m only).
What makes the trulli particularly characteristic is their conical roof, covered with an ornamental pinnacle, signature of the masons who built the building. The truncated cones, which end in a circular slab on top of a lid, were used to store the fodder. Exterior stairs allow access to the building.
There are 2 types of trulli: the elementary trulli, a single construction, usually a temporary shelter for the farmer, his livestock or the fodder. The second type is the square trullo, isolated or in groups of three, four or five trulli, each trullo being a specific room of the house: kitchen, bedroom, stable, etc.
Sometimes Christian symbols are painted on the domes with whitewash. Their meaning remains rather enigmatic. While it was believed that they were supposed to protect the inhabitants from bad spells (in religion or by superstition), it appeared that these symbols only date from the middle of the 20th century and that they were painted during the repair of the roofs and would be purely decorative. Mystery… At night, when illuminated by the light of the moon, these symbols take on a supernatural appearance.
The trulli have very few openings, except for the entrance door, which is obviously essential. They are therefore very dark. Rainwater is collected from the roof to a cistern under the house or under the neighboring yard.
The design of the trulli makes it difficult to heat them, so during the day in summer they remain cool. On the other hand, the stone that has been heated all day gives back the heat in the evening when the outside temperature drops. It can therefore be very hot at the end of the day. In winter, however, the trulli are difficult to heat because their walls are too thick and the hot air rises in the cones. Even the fire has trouble heating them because the thick walls stay cold and condense the humidity.
Trulli have had and still have their advantages and disadvantages. However, they remain and will always remain a beautiful heritage of the past for future generations.
Nowadays, some are abandoned in the middle of the olive fields, their stones gradually falling apart one after the other, creating particular "architectures". Others are being renovated or have been completely renovated like ours. Whereas in 1990 the trulli were offered with their land and nobody wanted them, today they are experiencing a spectacular increase in their sale price (+- 5% every year).





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