Curious-looking trulli are dotted throughout the Murge area of Puglia. Cylindrical, whitewashed buildings with grey conical roofs tapering out to a point or sphere, they are often adorned with painted symbols. Unique to Puglia, their ancient origins are obscure, but are probably connected to feudal lords who made people working their land build their houses without mortar so they could easily be pulled down if tax inspectors came round. The thick walls insulate equally against the cold in winter and the summer heat, while local limestone is used to make the two-layered roofs water-tight. Most trulli have just one room but when more space was needed, a hole was simply knocked in the wall and an identical structure built next door. Although originally they were both dwellings and storehouses, these days they’re being snapped up as holiday homes, and some are rented out as self-catering or B&B accommodation. An organization called Trullidea (wtrullidea.it), based in Alberobello, rents basic trulli in town and in the countryside for short- and long-term stays and can also arrange wine-tasting tours, cycling excursions and cooking courses.

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