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Apuglian Architecture: The Trulli Houses of Alberbello, Italy

Rooftops of trulli homes as seen in Alberbello, Italy

When planning my recent trip to Puglia, my friend Gabrielle helped with my itinerary. Her father’s side of the family is from Brindisi and she grew up spending summers in the area. She insisted I go see the trulli houses in the area.

Sign at the Ciesa a Trulli.

Trulli houses (also known as ciesa a trulli) are the traditional stone huts with conical roofs which were built primarily in the 18th century by farmers in the area to keep cool during the hot summer months. Think of them as the Mediterranean’s answer to adobe huts. Their peaked roofs make for a interesting “skyline.”

The trulli of Alberbello have been a UNESCO world heritage site since the mid-90s.

Geraniums provide pops of color in the middle of Alberbello’s commercial area

There are even trulli hotels in the area, and a few have been converted into shops and restaurants. I found it amusing that many trulli hotels come with disclaimers like “if you stay at a trulli hotel you won’t have a spacious room.”

Whitewashed symbols on the trulli rooftops

The streets and homes of Alberbello were well maintained, and the residents in the area were very house proud, inviting in tourists to check out the interiors. I passed because I assumed the invitation came with some sort of implied transaction, and I wanted to avoid that.

The house (2nd on the right) was modern construction yet totally trulli

All of Alberbello had sort of a quaint, Mediterranean shire type vibe. If it weren’t for the locals sweeping up, it might have felt a bit like a movie set.

Catholic shrines and Christian symbols are common motifs are common decorating details

Residents lived in this modern day trulli neighborhood, complete with produce vendors

A local rocking the Danny Aiello look from Madonna’s  Papa Don’t Preach video

Signage in Alberbello

Interior of a trulli house turned snack shop

Serie A Trulli Souvenir Banks