Polignano a Mare

Curiosity: Where do the famous trulli originate?

The trulli attract thousands of tourists from around the world, eager to spend a relaxing vacation or just to visit them to take away a souvenir photo. Actually, they have a long history.

The trulli, common among the Messapian populations that inhabited the central Puglia from the eighth century until the arrival of the Romans, arising directly, even in the name, from the Mycenaean tholos (from the Greek, domes). Merchants and sailors who landed on the coast of Taranto in the middle of the second millennium BC probably introduced them.

However, more interestingly it reveals their “modern ''history”. It is said that these houses, which today are very often elegant charming resort, would respond to specific social needs.

From the end of the fifteenth century, there was the proliferation of the trulli in Alberobello and in the nearby Itria Valley. It was the result of taxation on new construction by the viceroy of the Kingdom of Naples. In fact, the noble landowners, to try to evade taxes on new buildings, forced local farmers to build on the granted land to cultivate, temporary structures coarsely erected. So that, in view of inspection, they could be quickly dismantled and then put back into the foot. It was enough to pull off the main stone, called the keystone, for the trulli implode on itself becoming a heap of stones.

Only with the abolition of feudal constraints on these lands, at the end of '700, the trulli, which had built without mortar and with a single opening at the entrance, became more solid and durable enough to be survived to the present day.

Regardless of their more or less bizarre origins, today what affects and charms us is their dazzling whiteness. Their scintillating beauty can be admired both in Alberobello, which is one of the 50 Italian sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, and in the spectacular scenery of the Itria Valley and the Trulli Coast (Monopoli, Capitolo, Polignano a Mare) where trulli are widely disseminated to thousands. From a natural and landscape point of view, in this harmonious environment, monumental trulli return to their original role as essential components of rural housing in a typical agricultural land.

Our advice is to go roaming through this magical land in its sinuous, narrow and solitary streets, often bordered by the typical dry stone walls, and surprising your imagination by the white pinnacles of Trulli sticking above almond and walnuts.

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