This one’s a bit special for me. If you’ve seen my instagram post from a few weeks ago about it (this one ↯) you’ll already know this story, so I hope you don’t mind me telling in again!
My parents were totally ahead of the travel trends curve. When they got married in the early 1980s they decide they really wanted to go travelling. So they worked really hard and saved up for a year long around the world trip. Their budget was something crazy like $15 a day and sometimes if they had to make a choice between paying to see something or eating! But overall they had the most amazing time – staying with all sorts of people (as part of a prequel program to couch surfer I think) stumbling on all sorts of treasures off the beaten track (got to love just a book guide/paper map). My brother and I have grown up hearing their stories so how could we not grow up with the travel bug right?
One of my favourite stories of theirs is how they stumbled on this tiny town of fairy houses in Southern Italy. I didn’t know exactly where it was but I knew they were called trulli and that I truly wanted to go see them for myself one day. Anyone who laughs at that joke – marry me.
I finally made it there this year! The town is called Alberello and it has a more modern part as well as the tiny old village of trulli houses that forms its own enclave of the town. The trulli of Alberello are actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site – that’s how special they are. When we visited it was drizzly and cool and just so beautiful. The rain made walking the little uneven winding streets so atmospheric. I’d suggest driving there but parking on the outskirts of town and driving in just as an FYI. Driving in Italy can be nerve wracking enough without trying to add getting around 90 degree turns on tiny streets in an object (car) that doesn’t ‘bend’. 🌝🌚
If you’re wondering how this style of building evolved it’s actually pretty practical even if it doesn’t maybe look it at first. Historically the farmers of this region used to be taxed by their feudal lords based on the size of their buildings. The bigger you built, the more you were taxed. So the residents developed a clever loop hole. They decided to build structures/houses that could be built up and taken down as needed. When they heard that a tax inspector was on the way they would quickly dismantle the stone roofs of their houses – leaving a far structure to be seen and taxed. Once left alone again – the roof would be built back up. And viola!
As for one of the most mystical elements you’ll see – the mysterious symbols painted in white on some of the houses? They actually are mystical symbols! Some are religious (Christian and Jewish) and others are astrological, all of them were meant to protect the inhabitants.
I hope you’ve enjoyed wandering around this special little place with me!
If you’d like to get an idea of what more of the Puglia region is like hang tight and I’ll have another blog post on that soon! I took so many photo’s on this trip it’s ridiculous – my phone was groaning under the effort so I have to split up these posts, can’t have you guys scrolling forever!