At first sight, you might think that you ended up in a fairytale and that within ample seconds, several dwarfs and elfs will come out of the white washed little houses with their cone-shaped roofs. When you come to think about it, you know that youve arrived in Alberobella.
The historical centre with its trulli (as the houses are called, sing. ‘trullo’) has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The trulli are old, round buildings of limestone blocks built without mortar (but mortar has usually been added more recently in inhabited trulli). The conical roofs are made up of flat stones (‘chianche’). Today one can still visit the little houses set amidst almonds and olive trees and see people making ceramics according to the way it used to be done some 500 years ago.
Marvellous, unique and typical of the Bari and Otranto province, but why Some say that the counts of the area forced the colonists to make dry dwellings that could be easily pulled down in case one of the tax inspectors would come over to collect the money from permanent dwellers. Another version is that because one only had to pay for permanent houses, the white stone on top of the roof could be easily removed as to show to the inspector that the house hadns been finished yet. The same white pinnacles that might either mark the hand of the builder of the house, have been fallen out of the sky as a sign of the (worshiped) sun or simply look good as the finishing touch on the roof. Historians and archaeologists, however, consider this type of building to be of Neolithic origin and reminiscences of simple huts.