Seen from the air, Alberobello resembles a city inhabited by thousands of fairytale gnomes.
It is made up of 1,400 trulli houses, each of which is based on a cylindrical ground-plan. All are whitewashed, each is topped with a steep, conical roof built with thousands of small, grey stone slabs. Some trulli are slightly larger than others. Often, the basic design is doubled or tripled so that two or three conical roofs merge to cover a single building. But the essential uniformity of the trulli is marked by the use of whitewash and the same drystone roofs.
Alberobello, in the Puglia Region at the top of the “heel” of the Italian boot, is a thriving town with about 2,000 residents. Modern cars can be seen parked outside houses that are reminiscent of cartoon houses. The trulli are in the oldest part of town uncontaminated by more ordinary architecture. Walking along the narrow streets there is a distinct feeling of having been magically transported into a cartoon or fairy-tale scenario, set in an indeterminate time and place.
The technique of building trulli goes back thousands of years, almost certainly to when most of southern Italy was a Greek colony. Although Alberobello’s trulli are most famous, similar buildings can be found in Locorotondo and countless other places in southern Puglia. The (true) trullo has the advantage of being cool in summer and warm in winter. It is built on solid rock, without foundations.
The buildings are not huge and sometimes up to five trulli were built next to each other to house a larger family. They are unique to this region of Italy. You can find out more about them on www.alberobellotourism.com