The trullis are one of the most unusual and unique buildings in Italy. Around 200 to 300 years ago, the Apulian farmers built their houses in this special manner. There are now only a few well preserved examples of such architecture in the Itrian valley, even fewer which have been restored, and there is this one available for rent. The owner, a French lady, has tastefully and renovated her trullo and comfortably furnished it with antiques; she has chosen just the right pieces... and has not forgotten to add a pretty kitchen and modern bathroom. However, before we take a look at the interior decorations and the surrounding region, let's highlight a few interesting features.
These buildings are built of typical stone from the region. The walls are more than a meter thick, protecting the inhabitants from heat and cold. Inside, there are no doors, only stone pillars and curtains separating the rooms (the bathroom is an exception to this, where doors have been provided for reasons of privacy). Every year, the local people whitewash their homes right up to the roof and attend to the general appearance of their houses: a pure white construction with a silvery-gray cone-shaped roof. The annual whitewashing is also a traditional method of disinfection.
From the 17th to the 19th century, the trullo was the standard home of local farmers. The solitary trullo, with its high cone-shaped roof, looks rather like a small baronial tower; while the landscape as a whole appears to be dotted with 'miniature castles', their white facades peeping out between mighty, age-old olive trees - some close to one another, others standing alone. Travellers, even the most inattentive, are given the sense of entering a countryside where time stands still - a magical landscape. The UNESCO has also realized the great value of these trullis: since its resolution in 1996 the trullis and the Itrian valley have been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As well as being a home for the farmer, trullis served as hay barns in winter and for storing corn in summer. It was customary for the families and animals to live under the same roof at that time. At the top of the roof, above the brown cupola, decorative white stones crown the pinnacle. These ornaments are holy or magical symbols, sometimes in the shape of cones or horizontal discs, representing the earth or the two-dimensional sun. There are also pyramid or conical shapes with four or five facets which symbolize the holy stone of Baitulos - a cult followed by primitive oriental tribes, part of which included fertility symbols.
Later trullis have symbols from the 'new' religion, such as Christian crosses, Eucharist cups or radiant alter-bread. Pagan decorations can also be found: animals such as roosters, snakes, horseshoes and bull horns. Yet another source of symbols were magical astronomic, astrological or planetary figures or, much more simply, signs just representing the owner's initials. All these ornaments were carved by hand from local stone. Trullis can be found all over the Apulian region but the greatest number and most artistic examples are concentrated in the Valle d'Itria.
Our Trullo accommodates 8-12 people. There is a barbecue on the terrace, with its straw roof and - most importantly - even a pool. The garden has been planted with roses, lavender, olive and apricot trees. The price includes some hours cleaning service and a caretaker, who attends to the pool and cistern (very important!).
About the region
Cisternino is right in the heart of Murgia Pugliese, between the municipalities of Bari, Brindisi and Taranto. Lightly undulating, forested hills contrast with dry stone walls and the appealing white conical houses. This part of the countryside is just the place to relax in peace and quiet. The beaches along the Adria coast (both rocky and sandy) are not far away (30 km) and there are many romantic little towns to discover - both in the valley and on the nearby hills. The Itrian valley, in which this exceptional house stands, is a remarkably fertile region. Olive trees, vines, orange, lemon and almond trees are loaded with delicious fruit; the sun and nutritious earth guarantee rich and fresh harvests. One of the many fabulous features of the Apulian region are the reasonable prices and enormous portions in the restaurants.
This region flourished in the 13th century, as Friedrich the Second, King of Sicily (this region was also part of it, at that time) and Emperor of Germany, turned Apulia into his royal granary. Wheat, sweet corn and other essential cereals came from here and brought wealth to the region. It soon became necessary to build strongholds on the hills and many baroque castles were erected in subsequent times. All these towns make this Italian region a destination well worth visiting. We recommend travelling soon, as the tourism industry here is not (yet) as well developed as elsewhere in Italy (although affluent Italians already enjoy spending their holidays here).
The Apulian region still gives you the feeling that you are the first person to discover the area. This is an unspoiled part of Italy, far from the well-visited museum routes in Florence. 800 m from the house, down the road, there is a grocery store and the romantic little town of Cisternino is only 6 km away. Pretty Cisternino, 400 m above sea level, dates back to Medieval times and harbors a wide range of remarkable Renaissance and Baroque buildings. This whitewashed town holds live jazz concerts at the piazza, every weekend during the summer - strange to think of this in such a solitary part of the Italian countryside - but the Jazz is supposed to be excellent.
Additional amenities include: pool with two outdoor showers, two comfortable patios for al fresco dining, espresso machine, parking with shadow roof....Read more
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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