Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Trulli – the stone witches’ hats on the hill

You may be unfamiliar with the word, but if you ever visit Puglia’s Itria Valley in Southern Italy, you’ll certainly become familiar with their sight, especially in Alberobello, which has been awarded World Heritage status. 
Looming like teepees, the Trulli, as they are known, are odd structures. The base is made of stones piled on each other, like an old wall built without cement, while their peak is a white cone, coming up to a flat point. The rooves are often decorated with white painted symbols or icons, adding to their individuality and charm. As you might suspect, they’re a primitive form of shelter, or storage, constructed by local farmers hundreds of years ago. They could either use them to take refuge from bad weather while out on the land, or to store grain for the winter. 
One of the benefits of loose stone walls was that they could easily be modified, and clusters of Trulli could be built close together to form larger properties. They may be old, but their visual appeal has created a new generation of Trulli lovers, with many being renovated to serve as modern, highly distinctive, homes or holiday accommodation in the area. It seems the Trulli are truly here to stay.