BRIEF HISTORY

The discovery of archaeological remains proves that the area of Alberobello has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. The various evidences have been traced by chance along the last century as a consequence of soil transformations.

The various evidences have been traced by chance along the last century as a consequence of soil transformations. Actually, a concrete excavation campaign has never been conducted, even though perhaps it could have given useful information about the origin of Trulli (pl. of Trullo).
Many geographical and architectural specialized studies, written from the end of the nineteenth century, tried to answer this question but without reaching a common solution.
Up to the ninth century the term trullus, not present in old Greek and Latin dictionaries, simply indicated a ciborium, a chapel or a church dominated by a dome. Some historians do not exclude that probably the Basilian Fathers themselves gave the name to these buildings, by associating them with similar ancient buildings that can still be found in many Mediterranean areas. This coincidence has led a group of researchers to claim that this particular building system could have been introduced by certain populations coming from other geographic areas.

Another hypothesis supports a local origin. The tholos building - a Greek term that means dome - might be a direct stonework derivation of the prehistoric hut. Some local historians, on the other hand, affirm that this particular kind of building dates back to the sixteenth century as a consequence of some impositions of the Acquaviva d'Aragona Family. If we considered this peculiar building system coming from this circumstance, we could not justify the wide spread and variety of these kind of drystone, conic buildings all along Puglia, from Daunia to Salento. Even if they present some little external differences, they remain similar from the structural point of view as well as linked to the same tradition.
Between the sixteenth and seventeenth century in the area of Murgia there was the transition from the Trullo used as refuge to the single caselle, with a dome, provided with a fireplace and an adjoining garden. Alberobello's built up area had its origin between the second half of the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth century, but it is just at the end of the eighteenth century that we can find comfortable and habitable buildings.
Along the nineteenth century, because of the presence of fractioned lands, there has been a wide spread of this building technique in the surrounding areas.

ALBEROBELLO FROM THE NINETEENTH CENTURY TO UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE

Starting from mid nineteenth century the peculiarity of the Trulli of Alberobello has drawn the attention of the European culture. The first who carried on some research and described the truddhi was Luigi Giuseppe De Simone from Salento. The first "results" were those of the French archaeologist François Lenormant, who in 1881 defined Trulli as "timeless buildings". Thanks to this important cultural debate about the stone buildings, the Italian government - on indication of the Inspector of the Local Government Department of Bari responsible for Heritage, Mr. Angelo Pantaleo - understood the urgency to protect the Trulli of Alberobello. On 23 September 1910, the Mayor notified that the whole area characterized by Trulli, commonly known as Rione Monti (Rione Monti Quarter), had been considered a National Monument by the Italian government and, for this reason, it should have been preserved and protected.
In 1911 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, a great International Exhibition took place in Rome illustrating the different regions of Italy. The Puglian ethnographic group - organized by the aforementioned Angelo Pantaleo - was represented by the Trulli of Alberobello.
In the following years Alberobello was visited, among the others, by Gabriele D'Annunzio, Umberto di Savoia and Enrico Corradini.
Between the 20's and the 30's the Municipality, the Local Government Department responsible for Heritage and the Inspectors, tried to conciliate the needs of the population with the logic of protection. Thanks to the certified surveillance of the local authorities and the already active Pro Loco, in addition to the Rione Monti, also the Rione Aia Piccola (Aia Piccola Quarter), the Trullo Sovrano and Casa D'Amore (D'Amore's House) were bounded. In the same year the prestigious "The National Geographic Magazine" published a long article about this characteristic town. In the same period a tourist agent working in Naples, the "Browne's International Tourist Office", launched the tour toward "The Trully Country".
After World War II, Alberobello was visited by the Americans. Only during the 70's a new kind of tourism - coming from other Italian regions and from the north of Europe - started to develop. In the following decade Alberobello has been more and more appreciated by new tourist flows, mostly coming from Japan and USA.
On 7 December 1996 the Trulli situated in the Rione Monti and Rione Aia Piccola, together with Casa Pezzolla (Pezzolla's House, the Territory Museum), Casa D'Amore and Trullo Sovrano, were evaluated as having outstanding universal value by Unesco. This important achievement has increased tourism even more, with visitors and tourists coming from all around the world.

Edited by Tommaso A. Galiani
Translated by Alessandra Maggipinto
Revised by Ilaria Noemi De Carlo