Alberobello – Alberobello, Italy - Atlas Obscura


Alberobello, Italy

Southern Italy's spinning top village. 


In 1644, the King of Naples sent tax collectors intermittently to the Puglia region, near the town of Alberobello. Although under the rule of the Spanish, the Kingdom of Naples was a powerful force in Italy at the time and one of the biggest cities in all of Europe.

Fearing the immense power of the Kingdom, the local lord Count Acquaviva, needed to create a feudal settlement that could be dismantled easily to avoid a settlement tax. To accomplish that end, he forced local people into trullo houses that could be easily taken apart. Trullo houses had been in use in the region for hundreds of years, and were mortar-less domed houses, topped off with a pointed conical roof. Since they had drystone walls, they could be built or destroyed very quickly.

After years of feudal control by Acquaviva, the town of Alberobello finally overthrew the count and were granted royal town status by the King of Naples. Although they threw out their overseer, they kept the style of their house and the town has remained close to its roots for the last 200 years.

Alberobello is famed for its bright whitewashed houses, each with a miniature spire reaching toward the heavens and strange symbol adorning its roof. The town offers visitors a chance to revisit the history of Italy from ancient times up through the brutal feudal period of the 17th century in Puglia.

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