I N S I D E A L B E R O B E L L O
Alberobello is a small village in southern Italy, located in the heart of the Murgia of Trulli in Puglia. It is known throughout the world as the fairy village, thanks to the iconic houses with their pointed roofs made of stone. It is a town rich in Salento history and culture. With the creation of the photographic duo Tiago and Tania, we decided to introduce Alberobello to the list of the most evocative places in the world. So, we decided to create a photographic project at the suggestion of Tania, who, having Apulian origins, already knew the town.
T H E O R I G I N S
Alberobello is a unique agglomeration in the world with its 1500 Trulli. It was born in the sixteenth century in the period of the splitting of the feudal estate. This event led to the settlement in the countryside and the agricultural exploitation of previously uncultivated land.
The original name of Alberobello was Silva Alborelli, which indicated the wealth of trees in the area where the city grew. During that time, the Acquaviva Counts had numerous farmers settle in that area, reserving the right of ownership.
The Acquaviva Counts ordered the construction of shelters, know today as Trulli, built with the local stone and without mortar. This way, they could quickly demolish the Trulli in case of the King's inspection and evade taxes for the new settlements.
Alberobello remained an illegal settlement for a long time. In 1797 the town came to count 3200 inhabitants. In the same year, the population obtained from the King of Naples Ferdinand IV the liberation from the dominion of the Acquaviva. On 23 September 1910, Alberobello became a national monument, and in 1990 recognized by UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the singular villages that survived to the present day.
A L B E R O B E L L O T O D A Y
Unfortunately, today the historic center is mainly composed of craft shops, local products, and tourist rentals. The original inhabitants have moved to larger cities or other parts of the world.
This case takes the south of Italy in its entirety, especially for iconic and famous places like this one. The thing that struck us about Alberobello is that the remaining inhabitants, who live in the new city, have not resigned themselves and keep it alive with seasonal events linked to the valorization of this unique country in the world.
T H E T R U L L I
They are typical buildings descended through a millenary tradition up to our times. They were built entirely of stone, without mortar and other means of support, and used as temporary shelters in the countryside or permanent homes for farmers. The oldest still existing Trulli can be dated to the end of the 17th century near the Apulian plateau of the Murgia. Some Trulli have a symbol on the front of the roof, which was considered magical and propitiatory. Some of them have pagan meaning, others Christian, this is because the population gathered families of different origins.
These symbols can have different meanings; the most common is the family's protection from the evil eye or veneration of some propitiatory deity for a good harvest. These symbols, over time, disappeared, losing their meaning and value, because of the inhabitants who have not kept this custom of their ancestors alive.
On top of the Trulli, there is almost always a pinnacle, which can have different shapes, whose origin remains quite mysterious. Nobody can say with confidence what its meaning is. Some people say that it has magical value, others think it had only an ornamental function, others that it was a distinctive sign imposed by the ruler.
T H E P R O J E C T
We spent three days in Alberobello, visiting it from top to bottom and taking several photos from early morning until late at night. This town in September is quiet and peaceful, with few tourists, thanks to that it is easy to immerse own head in its history, being able to imagine the life of the original inhabitants.
Our goal was to capture the essence and mysticism of the city, silent and almost uninhabited, but still intact and resistant over time. The sun was a key point for our project because, depending on its position, the appearance of Alberobello's irregular structures changed.
P H O T O G R A P H Y C O M P O S I T I O N
A lot of people ask us about our photos. How we create them, how we develop a composition. To answer all these answers, we decided to create some GIFs which explain our composition process. Have fun watching them.