Oh, it’s so lovely to travel! And if you feel you haven’t covered many miles this year, have no fear: leave it to us as we take you wandering around Italy. Let’s pick up our tour where we left off, in Puglia.
The fact that this region is known as the heel of the famous “Boot” of Italy (as it is sometimes described) is something that particularly warms me to it. Not that it’s difficult to see why; with the sea, its art and nature, it is a truly exquisite destination. And the international jet-set think so too; they are always on the lookout for pretty, tucked-away spots. Like the masserie: the country houses typical of Salento that have been converted into super-luxurious homes.
From Lecce, which is the regional capital of Salento, we head north. The road beyond Brindisi hugs the coastline. How I love looking out to the horizon as it fades away and then turns into sky: every shade of blue, a color I adore.
In a little over an hour we get to our destination: here we are in Alberobello. Everyone knows the strange shape of the little houses in this famous town: known as trulli, they have stone roofs in the shape of an upturned cone. They look like some sort of joke, but that’s how the houses really are here. How come? And for how long have they been here?
The oldest buildings actually date back to the fourteenth century; it’s incredible that they are still intact given that the walls are built of dry stone, with no mortar or cement. This building technique allowed them to be dismantled quickly; not so much to escape marauders, but to avoid the taxes on new dwellings that were imposed by the Kingdom of Naples. Therefore, by "resting" one stone on top of another, they could not be said to be actual buildings! Ingenious, eh? The result is truly a sight to behold – in fact, since 1996, Alberobello has been designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Wow!
And the most amazing thing is that many trulli are still lived in today; in the area of Aia Piccola, for example, there are 400 of them, all residential.
[Once traveling gets a little easier, I’d really recommend you come and take a tour around these parts: the playful sight of the cone-shaped roofs, the contrast of the gray stone and white lime, the tangle of alleyways you can walk around and lose yourself in. It’s like a village made for gnomes only real…it’s a spectacle I recommend you come and see.]
That’s enough walking for now: as with every stage of our trip, it’s time to let our stomachs do the talking. Street food here is called puccia. It’s a round, crusty roll that is hollow inside and therefore perfect for stuffing with all kinds of fillings: I would recommend capocollo (a pork sausage that is known in other parts of Italy as coppa or lonza), tomato and provola (a kind of large mozzarella that has been aged for a long time and is sometimes smoked). Enjoy! ;)