Alberobello’s Hidden Past
Puglia may be best known for its iconic trulli homes found in Alberobello and the Itria Valley – but how did they come about and why are they so unique? Here is a brief history uncovering the hidden past of Alberobello…
Learn more about Alberobello and visit the trulli on a walking tour of this great city – find out more here.
It is said that the trulli itself can first be dated back to prehistoric times and were scattered about the Itria Valley, however at this time the basic limestone structure was used to bury the deceased. This simplistic construction technique was then used to build household structures, due the geographical conditions that provided abundant limestone resources.
Many of the trulli found today, especially in the old towns of Alberobello, date back to the fourteenth century. It was at this time that the land, on which Alberobello now lay, was awarded to the Count of Conversano by Robert of Anjou, Prince of Taranto who later became the king of Naples from 1309 to 1343.
It is said that in order to evade paying taxes to the king, the settlement of Alberobello was created, with the ruling Acquavuva family ordering that all locals build their homes in the ‘trullo’ style, without mortar. The location was strategically placed as a ‘hidden city’ in the centre of the forest, so that only the locals knew where to find the town, and the threat of any royal inspections would remain low.
The idea behind using the trulli structure stemmed from both local resources, and the idea that the trulli – built without mortar – could be dismantled easily in the event of a royal inspection. This meant avoiding high taxes. It is therefore a great testament that many of the trulli remain standing today!
As time went on, and the ruling family became greedy, so the locals then petitioned to the king to become a recognised ‘royal’ town. After this, many added additional trulli structures or more traditional style add-ons to further improve their homes. Trullo Sovrano is a spectacular two-storey trulli located in Alberobello that is now used as a museum to showcase what life used to be like.
Of course, many of the trulli today have been restored and now have mortar holding their walls together. The shapes and composition still remain, and you can now stay in an authentic trullo in the oldest trulli districts of Alberobello.
Stay here on our Enchanting Puglia tour, or we can organise a fully customised trip for you to include a stay in the trulli.