In Puglia: Trulli, symbols, origins, magic.

Buongiorno, Buongiorno, how’s everyBARI doing?

I hope that you are taking some time away from the robotic and chaotic motions of  every day living, steering away from technological overdose that leads nowhere and silencing your thoughts and minds, clearing your mind to reflect upon the first 7 months of this year (it’s already mid July!) as you visualize the remainder of the year and your goals for the  upcoming year.  For most Italians, especially Southern Italians, this is a time to pause, to rest, to recharge, to enjoy time with family and friends, to take in the “blu  dipinto di blu” {“blues painted with deeper blues” from the internationally acclaimed “Volare”} of Italian skies and the Mediterranean Sea.  I have prepared a series of posts on some of my favorite summer destinations in Sicily, Southern Italy and Italy and will share with you this and next month.  We will travel together through the Mediterranean with our senses, our palates, our eyes…..

Let’s go to Puglia, one of Italy’s hottest destinations this summer 2014, a personal favorite.  A region I visited at least once a year throughout my childhood as we headed to “La Fiera del Levante” for my Papa’s work and – though I was not particularly interested as a “piccola bambina” in architectural and engineering designs, I was curious already to travel through the ancient baroque quarters of Bari and learn about its modern counterparts.  We always stopped in Taranto as well, where Papa’ had attended the Italian Navy, to visit his friends.  Forward a few years, I returned in the early 2000s to spend a summer in Salento where I taught English and French to children and got to discover all of the incredible jewels of this corner of Puglia:  Gallipoli, Otranto, Ostuni, Santa Maria di Leuca, Lecce, Monopoli.   Talk about Maldive/Caribbean like waters in an Italian setting….The most ideal destination for a restorative vacation for the mind and the soul……

Today we head to “I Trulli di Alberobello”!  I’m sure many of you have been, visited, traveled, heard about  this incredible secret of Italy – I want you to take a moment to look at these funny shaped and adorable dwellings.  Have you ever taken the time to dig deeper, below the surface, to research and understand the origins of this magical structure?

Trulli, in Greek “tholos” or “troulos” {dome}, in Latin “‘turris, turulla, trulia” {small towers} had similar reproductions found in the ancient people of the Messapians, Pelasgians and the Greeks.  They were originally used as a shelter for animals and tools.  We also find similar designs in the Cretans, the Assyrians and  the Babylonians.  They first appear in Alberobello in the 1400s under the ruling of the Acquaviva family who built them as an incentive for peasants working their fields.  The use of the local limestone was introduced in 1550 under the rule of Lord Giovanni Antonio Acquaviva Aragona – no mortar was used so that they could be easily demolished and moved to avoid tax payments and move as different strips of land were being worked on.  These were passed on from generation to generation, creating literally “trullari” families of artisan builders.  In May of 1797 King Ferdinand IV of Bourbons proclaimed Alberobello a “royal town”, free from the Lords of Conversano.  In 1996, UNESCO proclaimed the entire structure of a “Trullo” and the area of “Alberobello” a World Heritage Site to Humankind.

On the pinnacles or the ceilings of  many trulli, you will find a number of symbols: they are either christian, primitive, magic or propitiatory symbols.   Time stops here, and for a few moments as you enjoy a “piatto di orecchiette con pomodoro e basilico fresco” {typical pugliese pasta called “orecchiette” or small ears} and a glass of vino bianco di casa {house white wine, usually made by local families}, as you observe the older locals conversing under grapevines or olive trees, extend a prayer to Padre Pio, one of my favorite saints {may he protect and bless your family always} who touched me with a few miracles the past few weeks, you know  that history existed and we could have not possibly created all of this on our own, that there was a master plan as we were graced by an incredible gift from God.

Enjoy your summer.  A  presto, cari lettori/dear readers.

Very “trulli” yours,

Francesca

Simboli dei Trulli d'Alberobello, Puglia    ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

Simboli dei Trulli d’Alberobello, Puglia ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

Simboli spirituali/Spiritual symbols in Trulli, Alberobello, Puglia  ~ Copyright  Francesca Mignosa

Simboli spirituali/Spiritual symbols in Trulli, Alberobello, Puglia ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

Vicoli/Alleys in Alberobello, Puglia   ~ Copyright  Francesca Mignosa

Vicoli/Alleys in Alberobello, Puglia ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

Bottega/Small family owned grocery stores in Alberobello, Puglia  ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

Bottega/Small family owned grocery stores in Alberobello, Puglia ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

Orecchiette pugliesi/Typical Pugliese Cuisine in Alberobello, Puglia  ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

Orecchiette pugliesi/Typical Pugliese Cuisine in Alberobello, Puglia ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

Locals in Alberobello, Puglia  ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

Locals in Alberobello, Puglia ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

Traditional limestone souvenirs from Alberobello, Puglia ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

Traditional limestone souvenirs from Alberobello, Puglia ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

The magic of Alberobello, Trulli, Puglia  ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

The magic of Alberobello, Trulli, Puglia ~ Copyright Francesca Mignosa

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