How firm and solid is a building without mortar? Clearly very solid, which you can see for yourself if you visit the Italian town of Alberobello. Alberobello is an unusual and picturesque town in southern Italy, 45 kilometers south of Bari. The town lies on two hills. On the west hill are the stone houses which brought Alberobello its global fame.
Distributed in two neighborhoods, Rione Monti and Aia Piccola, are the magnificent houses from the 14th century that are on the UNESCO world heritage list. These houses with the dome rooftops are called trulli, and they are built from uneven limestone rocks and without the use of mortar. Across the whole region of Puglia you will find huge numbers of these buildings, and the simplest of them have been used as huts in olive groves.
The thick walls of the houses make their construction stable and keep their inner temperature at a fairly constant level. On some of the roofs are symbols, with a religious or superstitious meaning. On top of all these roofs is a spike, and the decoration of that spike was seen as a status symbol back in the old days. Often there are several houses under one roof.
A long time ago Alberobello was a place where everyone had to live in trulli houses. Namely, the local feudal masters moved peasants-workers here to cut down the forests and cultivate the ground. To avoid the law and not pay taxes it was important to them that Alberobello was not considered a populated place. Because of that, up until 1797, when Alberobello gained the title of town, its inhabitants had to live in these kinds of settlements that could be broken down in a hurry if needed.
Alberobello has around 1,500 of these houses and there is no place like it in the whole world. Today, in some of these houses are souvenir shops, museums and restaurants. Some houses are rented as apartments, while some are still inhabited today and you can go inside and take a look.
The owners of these houses will often try to lure you into their own house, and they do that with the most imaginative claims. Some will say that their trulli is the oldest one, that it has a well or that it has a panoramic terrace where you can taste home made wine for free. The prices of these tours are not high because the competition in the city is pretty strong. If you are not able to spend a night in one of these houses, use your chance and go inside some of them.
Of the souvenirs found in Alberobello the most famous one is of course a mini trulli model, but you will also find local cheese and sausages, cookies, wine and brandy. You can buy the wine in many souvenir stores, and it can be also bought in a cup. Alberobello is a place that is not overrun with tourists and the most common visitors are Italians. The neighborhood Rione Monti is more pro tourism than the neighborhood Aia Piccola. All attractions in Alberobello are a walking distance away. Numerous festivals take place in Alberobello during the summer.
Getting to Alberobello
You can reach Alberobello by train (it takes about 90 minutes) or by car (a bit under an hour) from Bari. If you don’t have a car, there are many companies in Bari offering car rental services. Considering that the distance from Bari to Alberobello is pretty short it is possible to visit this town for a one day excursion.
About the Author
Milan Budimkic is an owner of MB SEO agency in Belgrade. He is also a creative freelance writer for industries that include (but not limited to) travel, sports, entertainment, home decor and internet marketing. When not blogging, Milan likes to travel and read.