Alberobello is universally known as the capital of the trulli, the characteristic stone houses famous throughout the world for their extraordinary uniqueness. UNESCO includes the trulli of Alberobello among the world heritage sites.
Trulli are ancient stone buildings with a round or quadrangular base, surmounted by a cone shape dome structure. Each trullo has a different shape and size; the reason for this is that each building was erected in a completely independent way.
The walls were raised by placing the stone blocks one on top of the other dry, meaning without any binding material. The “chianche” used to make the domes were skilfully fitted one into the other creating a balance such as not to require the use of concrete or any other fixative. The particular structure of the trullo and the material used to make it ensure warmth in winter, without the need for heating systems and coolness during the hot summer months.
The domes of the trulli often bear whitewash astrological, cabbalistic and religious symbols. The origins of this type of construction are very uncertain. The cone-shaped house probably originated in the east; its adoption in Puglia caters for primitive building requirements but motives such as religious beliefs or magical practices cannot be ruled out. On the top of the trulli are the pinnacles, small whitewashed and hand-worked stone sculptures.
Cummerse: houses with unusual pointed roofs, here known as cummerse. These roofs are covered with limestone blocks (chiancarelle) over an underlying, rather raised barrel vault. This type of roof covering is essentially urban. In the countryside, it is only found in the master section of the “masserie” attached to groups of trulli used to store farming implements and house farm workers.