Discovering what is a trullo

In Italy you can really enjoy the Mediterranean atmosphere, its climate, perceive its aromas, taste its fruits, only in the South, Liguria and the islands. Among the necessary travel experiences you can't fail to stay in a trullo.

The trullo is a country home with the typical cone-like structure spread over a large territory of Apulia, which extends from Ofanto river to Salento. It shows its maximum expression and concentration in the Itria Valley and Alberobello. The Itria Valley in reality is a karst depression which coincides with the southern part of the Murgia plateau. It extends across the towns of Locorotondo, Cisternino and Martina Franca.

The trullo is an example of the Mediterranean architecture, whose similarities are to be found in Northern Africa, Spain (Costa Brava, La Mancha, Aragon, Catalonia and Balearic Islands), Southern France, Sardinia or in the Levant.

The trulli are optimally adapted to the climatic conditions, as the great mass of the building and the materials used (limestone) provide strong thermal inertia. The great wall mass of the trulli, absorbing the sun's heat during the day and ejecting it at night, is able to adjust the internal microclimate reducing, in fact, many degrees the temperature inside than outside.

Comfort is enhanced by good ventilation, which is guaranteed by the "chimney effect" due to the conical shape of the section and to a certain permeability of dry stone walls, which allows air to seep between the stones. The recycling of the air, which contributes to the reversal of the temperature inside the home between day and night, is favoured by fireplaces, antique spaces located on the ground level which were topped by chimneys with large hoods, sometimes coinciding with the whole "candle" (conical dome). When the hearth was smaller, the front part was closed by a "cannucciato" plastered trellis. The fireplace was used for cooking or heating the room. Farmers, in fact, were accustomed to gather around it for their well-deserved rest.

For its shape, the materials used and the manufacturing methods applied, inside the trullo you can enjoy widespread and pleasant fresh during the hot summer days and an equally pleasant warmth during the winter. Sleeping in a trullo is restful: you can sleep with a clean linen cloth, to awaken the next morning refreshed, vital and bouncing with energy. On the beneficial effects that the trulli infuse there are various theories and hypotheses including a natural ability of construction of which the ancient master builders were equipped, forerunners to the ecological architecture.

Another example of the use of natural resources and the reduction of the energy balance is the collection of rainwater, which slipping on the "chiancarelle" (the "roof" of the cone) are clarified and conveyed, with a system of valleys which connect the cones between them into the cistern, generally located under the main trullo. The tank was made following the necessary excavation for finding the stones useful for the realization of the trullo. Such system also knocked down construction costs.

The trullo, although usually with small windows, is bright enough due to the whitewashed walls and white limestone veined with red rust reflecting light.

On the top of the dome of the trulli you will find the only segment in which the stone is linked with mortar, also whitewashed with lime. At the top the pinnacle reaches out towards the blue sky. It is made with stones having shapes often inspired by mystical, religious or traditional symbols.

The custom of whitewashing the exterior with lime increases the reflection of the solar radiation. The white colour of lime has a large chromatic value and that is what mostly lights up in the heat of the afternoons, or in the glory of the aurora and sunsets. There is even reflected the clear freshness of the mornings. And it is the only one tempering and beating the moonlight. In the Mediterranean countries the whitewash is not only a colour. It is a sacrament. Rich in meaning: it inspires a sense of freshness, cleaning and sharpening.



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