March 31, 2009

Trulli unique Italian houses

trullis trulliland

trulli panoramioHave you ever heard of a trullo?? I hadn’t until a few days ago.

Trulli (the plural form) are structures with gray stone cone-shaped roofs. They’re found in Bari and Tarano in the Puglia region of Italy. There are over 400 trulli in the town of Alberobello, considered to be the “trulli capital”.

The origin of these oddly shaped houses is unknown. Traditionally, trulli were built without any cement or mortar. One of the more popular theories is that because of high taxation on property, the people of Puglia created trulli so that they could be dismantled and moved out of sight when the taxman was in the area. Then they would put them back together once the taxman was gone.

Today, trulli have solid foundations. No hiding from the taxman anymore!! The stone used to build a trullo helps to keep the house cool in the hot Italian summer. The outside of the cone is built from chiancarelle (stone slabs) of different sizes that serve as roofing tiles.

As you can see in the pictures, there’s typically a pinnacoli (pinnacle) at the top of each trullo’s cone. The significance of the pinnacoli is still unclear. Some people believe it gives magic powers. Others believe it represents the family that lives in the trullo.


trulli wiki

Sketches of pinnacoli (from

trulli Pinnacoli

Many cones have symbols painted on them. The symbols are painted with lime. Legend has it that they were painted for magical or propitiatory rites. The meaning of some common symbols are to protect the family living in the trullo from the evil eye, the worship of some deity, and the hope for a good harvest.

trullo symbols panoramio trullo symbols panoramio 2

trullo symbols flickrtrullo heart flickr

From left to right are Primitive, Christian, and Magic symbols (from

trulli symbols

Now let’s take a peek inside and look up some trulli cones…

TrulliInteriorCeiling picasa

trulli looking up

Some pretty trulli exteriors…



trullo pansies

trullo rocca agiulia

trullo rocca agiulia 2

The interior of a restored trullo might surprise you…

trulli in 2

trullo bedroom

trullo bedroom 2

trullo FP

trullo bedroom 3

trullo LR

The trullo in the following pictures is Villa Santoro (featured on Villa Santoro recently underwent a complete renovation and rebuild by an Austrian designer and a Milanese architect team. It combines and retains the Trullo and Masseria styles typical and unique to the area. Many of the original trullo features have been maintained, including the original stonework and vaulted ceilings. The interior is clean and minimal, but the stone gives it character and warmth.

The bright & light interior…

 PUG Kitchen_2PUG Kitchen_3 PUG Trullo_BedroomPUG Trullo_bathroom 2PUG_Kitchen_3PUG Living_Room_corner

The backyard isn’t too shabby either!!

 PUG Pool_from_outside_living_areaPUG Terraces_and_poolPUG Over_pool_to_TrulliPUG_Pool_and_view_1

Beautiful blue skies…

PUG View_north_over_trullo_conesPUG Trullo_and_Sky       

The sun is setting on Villa Santoro…

PUG Villa_Santoro_Early_EveningPUG_Santoro_sundownPUG_Santoro_and_Pool_by_Moonlight 

I hope you enjoyed visiting these trulli unique Italian houses as much as I did :-)


Read about a trullo restoration here:




Stunning! I really enjoy this kind of entries. When we have opportunity to learn something new about the world. If you like this kind of buildings you need to check out the BANCOS adobe mosques from Africa - very similar architecture but more organic in shape.

qerat said...

Like a fairytale village, Ivan is right they do look like the mosques.
Love the interiors of the renovated villas

Kat said...

These are beautiful. I've never seen this type of home, how unique. The restored villa is magnificent, but my favorite is the white with the blue doors, just stunning. Kathy

Paul Anater said...

Ahhhhh, thanks for the virtual vacation Kelly. Puglia's being hailed as "the new Tuscany" by the tour package operators, so get there to see the real deal soon before the region gets turned into a theme park. In the meantime, you can go there now and actually stay in a trullo. Boy oh boy that sounds enticing!

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of this before - so BEAUTIFUL!!!
~angela @ peonypatch

Lauren said...

My gosh they're beautiful!!!! I've never read about them before and was surprised to love the insides as much as the outsides!! awesome find!!

High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

I've never heard this before, but I'm in love. Those last couple of pictures really did it for me. So pretty and different.

Unknown said...

These are amazing!! I love the symbols. What a fun and educational post and I admire all the research it took you to put this post together. Well done!!!

Red River Interiors,LLC said...

this style of structure is new to me...lots of good info. I love the simplicity and the symbols on top...great post... Fay

M2JL :: STUDIO said...

Beautiful! I love the texture of the stone and the bright white walls. And the view from inside is spectacular. I would love visit them (sigh) Thanks for sharing! - Marie

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

GORGEOUS!!! Loved those pictures. What beautiful homes!


Blair Friedeman said...

Oh wow, They are so beautiful and incredibly charming. What a great post.

My Notting Hill said...

I've never seen these before. Very cool!

Anonymous said...

I just got back from Puglia and am in LOVE with the trulli! So many still available to restore with prices still reasonable, though I understand they were practically giving them away 10 years back!! I picked up a great book while in Ostuni, a BEAUTIFUL town near Alberobello, which is a whole town full of trulli, called "Trulli - Living & Hosting" which has tons of beautiful photographs of restored and well-decorated trulli homes.
I just can't stop looking at them!
Your blog is the best description I've seen of them; great job!

John Dabney said...

Really glad you liked my Villa in Puglia, Villa Santoro. I now have a business renting only the finest villas in the region as well as my own. As you can see from the website, some are similar, others very different, but all stylish and luxurious in one way or another.

Let me know if you want to enjoy any of them 'in the flesh'



Mark McLellan said...


Thanks for the link. Buying and restoring our trulli was an epic but absolutely worth it. It took 18 months to complete the purchase and two and a half years to carry out the restoration.

Our architect, Daniele Corsaro, did a beautiful and sympathtic restoration. We ended up with one house for us and one available as a holiday let. That area is beautitiful and we plan to downshift there in a couple of years time.



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