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The history and origin of the most ancient construction in Apulia



The trulli are today one of the most appreciated construction in Apulia, both italian and stranger tourists want to spend a beautiful and characteristic holiday in these little jewels. But sometimes it happens to wonder “what’s the history of trulli?” or “where they come from?”. If you are interested in discovering their origins, this is the perfect article for you.


The name, infact, derives from the late Greek word for dome, in particular the thòlos which was an ancient grave. Then, there are many testimonials of them that date back the Bronze Age when they were used as shelters for peasants or as storage. Infact, as the legend narrates, they were dry-wall constructions, made without mortar, and imposed by the Counts of Conversano in order to evade an edict by the Kingdom of Naples that demanded a tax on every new urban construction. So, trulli were very easy to demolish and not taxable.


Trulli have a particular rounded shape and their roofs are composed by a pseudo-dome made of horizontal limestone slabs, set in a series of diminishing, concentric circles that were called “chianche”, and the finer called instead “chiancherelle”.


A mysterious highlight is the keystone, which is decorated with esoteric, spiritual or propitiatory characters. Infact, even today we don’t know the exact nature of these characters.


For what concern the area, you will certainly know the amazing Valle d’Itria which comprhends some beautiful and famous cities such as Castellana Grotte, Conversano, Locorotondo, Monopoli, Noci, Polignano a Mare e Putignano; Crispiano, Grottaglie, Martina Franca e Mottola and Ceglie Messapica, Cisternino, Fasano, Ostuni, Selva di Fasano e Villa Castelli. But, in the first place, there’s the only and inimitable mother land of trulli, the characteristic city of Alberobello. Trulli are born as shelters for peasants and for this reason, they are called in so many ways according to the different dialects, in Valle d’Itria, for example, is used the name “casedde”.


Proudly, we can also state that trulli have been declared since the 6th December 1996, World Heritage Site by UNESCO.