Many trulli are topped off with a crown, called the "Pinaccolo" or pinnacle, either in a ball shape which some claim is the symbol of the sun, or in a religious symbol. All of these cone shaped roofs have painted hex symbols on them, while others are astrological.
The pinnacle seems to help the myth of the painted pagan symbols on the cone shaped roof, which ends at the top in a white washed holder, the pinnacle, for the sun ball or other symbol. Still a mystery to many, and truly not conclusive.
A last theory that I want to share with you, links the trulli with similar structures in Mycenae and suggest that their origins could be as old as 3000 B.C. Apulia was indeed part of Magna Graecia and thus could have come under that influence. Similarities have been noted between the trulli of Apulia and the "sugarloaf" houses of Syria. It has been suggested that this idea, traveling west, influenced builders in southern Italy who initially used the trulli as tombs. It has also been noted that soldiers returning from the Crusades might have brought these architectural curiosities to Alberobello.
A logical explenation is this one : The limestone, a calcareous rock found in abundant stratification throughout the region, is easily separated into thin layers that can readily be shaped into crude bricks that don't require mortar when relayered. The dome design allows heat to rise, slightly cooling the living space, a significant factor in the region's brutal summer. Given that the area has long been impoverished, perhaps the design is nothing but good old ingenuity, a means of cheaply constructing homes and businesses with the materials at hand.
Another theory suggests that during Spanish rule, a tax was levied on individual homes, except for unfurnished homes, for which the trulli qualified when their roofs were removed. Hahaha, could be true... people do a lot to avoid paying taxes, LOL
The story I like best is the one suggestion is that the origin of the trulli had to do with outwitting Ferdinand I of Aragón. This king had prohibited the Apulians from building permanent dwellings because he wanted to be able to move the labor force around as he chose. The clever Apulians thus constructed houses that could be dismantled when they spotted the king's agents.
Where does the architecture come from?
A good guess is that the name trullo comes from the Greek tholos, the name for a conical-shaped, domed tomb, such as those earliest ones found at Mycenae, (i.e., Agammemnon's tomb) and in Crete, dating from the early Bronze Age. Similar domed tombs of later eras are to be found all through the Mediterranean world, including Southern Italy.
While you can look at the several pictures of the pinnacles, I want to share with you some theories where the unique style of architecture of the trulli come from. In the next few tips you can read a number of theories.
According to some people the pinnacles represent the constructor's signature. Any constructor, indeed, gives it his own signature shape.
According to some experts, Pinnacles join the cult of the sacred stones, or also a representation of the primitive huts' stake cross; some claim that there's a simbolic meaning in the pinnacles,as in the paintings on the cupola.
But besides the symbols, there is something else on the roofs that makes every trulli unique from the other : the pinnacle.
Pinnacles are made of hand-worked stone and they stand out so clearly because they are white-washed.
While walking through Alberobello I got intrigued by them, seeing so many different once on all the roofs.
It's a bit less clear in this picture, but you can also see a symbol on the roof as well. It's fascinating to watch all these little details, and see all the differences between the trulli. None of them is the same.
There are a few types of symbols you can find on the roofs :
"primitive"for they constitute remains of ancient cults that were celebrated in the "woods".
A second group of symbols are defined "magic" because they're bound to astrologic signs imported by ancient oriental cultures.
And symbols like this one. They are the most common and numerous symbols. They go from a simple cross to Christ's monogram; from the symbols of the Passion of the Lord, to the initials of the "Santi Patroni" (protector Saints); from the eucharistic chalise to the signs of the monastic orders.
Don't think a 'roof' is a 'roof' in Alberobello! At the first glimpse they look the same, but if you look a bit closer....
So in these local custom tips I want to bore you with all the different roofs I spotted.
Well, that was it for the theories. What ever the answer is, the trulli are fascinating to see. So if you are in this area, don't forget to take a look in Alberobello!