A SIDE TRIP TO ALBEROBELLO
I spent my time in Alberobello in the Puglia region exploring the nooks and crannies of this remarkable and unique UNESCO World Heritage Site, lugging my pinhole camera and tripod up and down Rione Monte early in the morning before the tourists gather and swarm through the small streets and passageways and the shops full of trinkets and tchokes open. Later in the day, armed with my DSLR and iPhone, I would take advantage of the remarkable crystalline blue sky and shoot away.
Alberobello is a fairy tale of a town with conical shaped stone dwellings called “trulli.” The story is there was a local feudal lord, Count Acquaviva, who moved his peasant workers here to clear woodlands and cultivate the land. At that time, if they lived in temporary quarters, he could avoid paying taxes. Thus, these stone buildings were constructed without mortar so, theoretically, they could be quickly disassembled. Today, the town is a mecca for tourists who are seeking a completely unique architectural experience as trulli exist no where else. We booked a “room” in a trullo with its own private garden and with “bedrooms” seemingly carved out of rock. The principal piazza is graced with a perfect bosque of trees that lend shade and formality to the space. I suspect that the throngs of tourists find this a welcome respite to what I suspect is intense sun and heat during the summer. Throughout the countryside, there are walls after low stone walls. Excavation of the rocks to form the buildings and to allow for cultivation of the land must have occupied people for countless decades based on the sheer number of walls and buildings constructed from these stones.