The Cones of Trulli

The Cones of Trulli

Alberobello trulli (author: Berthold Werner, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60159414)

The trulli of Alberobello have on top, in addition to a sculpted pinnacle, strange markings: they are symbols of different nature, some recall pagan and esoteric traditions, whereas others refer to Christian iconography. They are made using limewash directly on the chiancarelle[1], i. e. the stones which made up the conical roof. These markings not only helped distinguish the families owning the trulli, but took on an apotropaic function: they were believed to ward off the evil eye and favor a good crop. The most common and easily recognizable symbols were the Jewish candelabrum, the symbol of Jesus as the Sun, and Maria’s pierced heart which refers to the Passion. Other pagan symbols that are commonly found on the trulli of Alberobello are the Taurus, Jupiter and Venus.

  1. T.N.: Limestone slabs used in Apulian architecture, especially as covers for the conical roofs of trulli.

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