Monday, April 28, 2008

Alberobello

Hello! It's been a while since I've written a 'realtime' post. I do have some legitimate excuses. My parents came to visit from March 30-April 14. Before their arrival I had to finish two huge papers and was still in school every morning from 9 till 1 for Italian. While my parents were here we packed everyday so full of Italian wonders that there was very little time to write. We had such a good time. We also had some nasty colds. Mine persisted after they left (this thing lasted about 3 weeks) until I finally caved and went to the doctor. I decided I needed some drugs to help me through my finals. They worked, and I finished my finals on April 23rd. Whoo-hoo! That night two of my friends from home arrived. They stayed until Saturday evening. Again, so much fun! I love being able to show other people all of the beautiful things I've been seeing everyday. So, these are my reasons for the writing drought. But have no fear. I'm back with a vengence.

I've decided since I no longer have Italian school or regular school and I don't have a job, for this last week I will write a blog each day to pay hommage to this country I've called home for the last 4 months. There are so many things that I've seen and done over the past month that are worth writing about, and since the only other things I plan on doing are laying in the sun on the roof studying Italian, hanging with Mr. Paolo as much as I possibly can, walking the coast everyday, and eating at all of my favorite places one last time, I figured that I can fit a blog in each day. I'm even going to attempt to post pictures directly into the blog so you can see what I am talking about.

So the first of my Italian series is about a town called Alberobello (which means "pretty tree"). I have never seen anything like this town before in my life. It was like you step straight into a fantasy novel as you begin to travel toward the town.

We drove down a narrow, narrow road and on both sides there were fields of wildflowers, olive trees, fruit trees, old stone walls and trulli. Now what is a trullo you ask? (trullo=singular, trulli=plural)

These are trulli.


In the middle of the fields there would be these little houses, that couldn't possibly be real...but they were. It was like leprechaun land or something. The were so cute, set in the most picturesque background and it made you feel like little men were about to pop out singing "we represent the lollipop guild..."

When driving the trulli were few and far between and we got excited when there would be a "spotting" but when we reached the actual town of Alberobello, the entire city was trulli-land. Some factoids about trulli themselves:

The trulli are limestone dwellings found only in the southern region of Puglia, and are examples of drywall (mortarless) construction, which is a prehistoric building technique still used in this region today. (Can you imagine prehistoric techniques still being used in the US? We are lucky to see techniques from the 70's...or, maybe not so lucky. The 70's were a bit strange architecturally). The trulli are made of roughly worked limestone boulders collected from neighboring fields. Characteristically, they feature pyramidal, domed or conical roofs built up of corbelled limestone slabs. The slabs in the roof are not held together by any type of adhesive, instead the way they are stacked allows the rain to flow right down the sides.

Rooftops

Italian cavemen knew what they were doing...

Women outside a shop

On the roofs of the trulli there were often magical, religious or primitive symbols, and in each symbol you can discover origins tied to pre-Christian, solar, Jewish or pagan cults.

Alberobello is part of the World Heritage List, which was created by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). And, not suprising, Italy has the most sights of any country on the list.

Even the church is a trullo.

Alberobello is becoming more of a tourist area, but unlike the big cities, it's still rather unknown to foreign travellers. Puglia in general has remained a treasure to foreign travellers because it's still relatively cheap, it's beyond beautiful, the people are more friendly than you can imagine. It's only slightly more difficult to move around this region because you have to rent a car. But if you are adventurous enough to drive with the Italians, then taking a trip to Puglia should be a major consideration if you are planning a trip to Italy. And if you need a travel guide, you know who to call...

We'd be happy to help!


5 comments:

bleeding espresso said...

I definitely want to go there! I wish traveling was free...or at least sponsored ;)

I hope you're all feeling better!

JenniferLWilliams78 said...

what an absolutely breathtaking town. wow, maggie. i'm glad you are giving me something to day dream about at work ;) i want to live there!

Where in the World said...

Michelle, we'll have to plan a "southern region swap." When I make it back to Italy I can show you the best parts of Puglia and you (and Cherrye)can show me Calabria!

It's not toooo expensive when you have a free place to sleep and a kitchen to cook...

And yes, we are all feeling 100 times better. Thanks!

Where in the World said...

Jenn, you would "fit" into this town perfectly... ;)

love and miss you tons and tons. SEE YOU SOON!

Alexandra said...

are you still in Alderobello or near there? I have a friend from college whose Italian ancestry comes from that exact town, we're trying to figure out which "pretty tree" do they mean when they call "Alderobello" the town of "pretty trees"??? If you can help that would be SO GREAT!!!!