If you have ever been on a trip to Puglia, you probably could have not helped but noticing some weird, circularly shaped constructions. Their name is Trulli and they are a deep part of the region’s tradition, due to a long lasting history that has become legend.
No one really knows the origin of Trulli, but everyone seems to have a different theory. What is supposed to be true, without any doubt, is that during the 16th and the 17th centuries they were inhabited by peasant families of Puglia, who would share a few cones and would use a fireplace as the “headquarters”, coming together to cook and get warm. Trulli were built from dry limestone rocks, with no mortar used. Therefore, the thick walls managed to keep the Trulli fresh even during warm seasons, when the temperature could reach unbearable peaks. But how did Trulli come about?
According to some, Trulli appeared after a huge deforestation that took place in Puglia. Nowadays, the region showcases enormous plains and vineyards, but centuries ago forests of Pine, Yew, Beech and other species of trees were blooming. However, at some point, they disappeared and the inhabitants were left without a suitable amount of wood to build houses. However, in order to survive, they had to come up with alternative solutions and Trulli were one of them.
As mentioned, no one can be truly sure about the origins of these conical shaped constructions, but the most known legend among the inhabitants has its roots in to financial matters. In fact, the reason for Trulli’s characteristic shape has to be tracked back to when Alberobello, the city in which it is actually possible to rent a trulli in puglia, was under the Kingdom of Naples. In this period, the kingdom charged high taxes on the inhabitants sending tax collectors to check every house. However, legally speaking, a house needed to have a roof to be considered as such and that is why the inhabitants built their roofs with simple stones on top of each other, making it easier to dismantle them when the tax collectors came. Then, after they left, they could put the stones back together and keep living their life without the burden of taxes!
The last theory about the birth of Trulli dates to back to the 8th century B.C., when Puglia was colonised by the Greeks. In fact, the examples of domed dwellings are many and they were built using the same ‘dry’ techniques of the Trulli. In addition, it seems that Tholoi of Mycenae were linked to the Trulli, since the word Tholoi, the Greek name for the domed tombs of Mycenae, could have become the current word Trulli. Another story, another narrative to add to the mysterious origin of Puglia’s Trulli!