UNESCO Trulli Stone Houses in Alberobello Italy

I love the UNESCO Trulli Stone Houses in Alberobello Italy

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The trulli , limestone dwellings found in the southern region of Puglia, are remarkable examples of drywall (mortarless) construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. The trulli are made of roughly worked limestone boulders collected from neighbouring fields. Characteristically, they feature pyramidal, domed or conical roofs built up of corbelled limestone slabs.

The Trullo is a dry-wall or mortar-less construction made from local stone called chiancarelle. It is erected on a square or round base with thick stone walls to keep the rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The conical, water-tight roof is raised in concentric circles of piled up, hand cut limestone boulders covered by weathreed slabs. Decorateive rooftop finials of different shapes, sizes, or combinations of geomentric forms personalize the dwellings.

 

Alberobello means “beautiful tree”. This town in Bari has 10 735 inhabitants. The trulli of Alberobello were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.

Here’s the UNESCO inscription:

Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The trulli, typical limestone dwellings of Alberobello in the southern Italian region of Puglia, are remarkable examples of corbelled dry-stone construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. These structures, dating from as early as the mid-14th century, characteristically feature pyramidal, domed, or conical roofs built up of corbelled limestone slabs. Although rural trullican be found all along the Itria Valley, their highest concentration and best preserved examples of this architectural form are in the town of Alberobello, where there are over 1500 structures in the quarters of Rione Monti and Aja Piccola.

The property comprises six land parcels extending over an area of 11 hectares. The land parcels comprise two districts of the city (quarters or Rione Monti with 1,030 trulli; Rione Aia Piccola with 590 trulli) and four specific locations (Casa d’AmorePiazza del MercatoMuseo StoricoTrullo Sovrano).

The extent and homogeneity of those areas, the persistence of traditional building techniques, together with the fact that trulli are still inhabited make this property an exceptional Historic Urban Landscape.

Trulli (singular, trullo) are traditional dry stone huts with a corbelled roof. Their style of construction is specific to the Itria Valley in the region of Puglia. Trulli were generally constructed as temporary field shelters and storehouses or as permanent dwellings by small-scale landowners or agricultural labourers.

Trulli were constructed from roughly worked limestone excavated on-site in the process of creating sub-floor cisterns and from boulders collected from nearby fields and rock outcrops. Characteristically, the buildings are rectangular forms with conical corbelled roofs. The whitewashed walls of the trulli are built directly onto limestone bedrock and constructed using a dry-stone wall technique (that is, without use of mortar or cement). The walls comprise a double skin with a rubble core. A doorway and small windows pierce the walls. An internal fireplace and alcoves are recessed into the thick walls. The roofs are also double-skinned, comprising a domed inner skin of wedge-shaped stone (used in building an arch or vault) capped by a closing stone; and a watertight outer cone built up of corbelled limestone slabs, known as chianche or chiancarelle. The roof structure sits directly on the walls using simple squinches (corner arches) allowing the transition from the rectangular wall structure to the circular or oval sections of the roofs. The roofs of buildings often bear mythological or religious markings in white ash and terminate in a decorative pinnacle whose purpose is to ward off evil influences or bad luck. Water is collected via projecting eaves at the base of the roof which divert water through a channeled slab into a cistern beneath the house. Flights of narrow stone steps give access to the roofs.

The trulli of Alberobello represent a dry-stone building tradition, several thousand years old, found across the Mediterranean region. Scattered rural settlements were present in the area of present day Alberobello around one thousand years ago (1,000 AD). The settlements gradually grew to form the villages of present-day Aia Piccola and Monti. In the mid-14th century the Alberobello area was granted to the first Count of Conversano by Robert d’Anjou, Prince of Taranto, in recognition of service during the Crusades. By the mid-16th century the Monti district was occupied by some forty trulli, but it was in 1620 that the settlement began to expand, when the Count of the period, Gian Girolamo Guercio, ordered the construction of a bakery, mill, and inn. By the end of the 18th century the community numbered over 3500 people. In 1797, feudal rule came to an end, the name of Alberobello was adopted, and Ferdinand IV, Bourbon King of Naples, awarded to Alberobello the status of royal town. After this time the construction of new trulli declined.

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