Thursday, June 9, 2011

Giornale Pugliese V: Yours Trulli

Illustration by Hallie Cohen

I Trulli is a restaurant on 27th Street. It’s also the name of peculiar structures that dot the Pugliese countryside. The old town of Alberobello is made almost entirely of trulli, which have conical roofs and keystones that allow them to self-destruct. Puglia is an area of Italy that has benefited from a succession of invasions from nearby cultures. The misfortune of its vulnerability also allowed the region’s populace to rob ideas from its invaders. Between l000-1500 AD, interlopers from Turkey introduced these stone huts in exchange for refuge from the persecution they would be subjected to if they returned to their home country. Their crime: not killing enough Italians. From the point of view of the locals, the Turks provided a service by furnishing a novel form of self-destruction (through the removal of the keystone) as a way of avoiding the dreaded roof taxes charged by the draconian aristocracy of Ferdinand II of Spain, one of a long line of imperialists who planted their flags in the soil of Puglia. By the late twentieth century, the structures became appreciated for the way in which they epitomized the principles of sustainability and bio-architecture. Trulli have two concentric walls, which allow air to flow through the uncemented stones. Fires from within produce an upward draft that quickly exhausts the cold air. What a unique solution to heating problems at a time when we are hell bent on lessening our dependence on fossil fuels!

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