Alberobello, the fairy tale town of southern Italy you've surely missed
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Alberobello is a small town in the Apulia region of southern Italy, famous due to its remarkable trulli districts. These drywall, white-washed constructions with their iconic conical roofs were made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996, and have since made the town an interesting stop for tourists from around the world visiting Italy. Although it is only one of 51 sites of UNESCO in Italy alone, Alberobello’s trulli are a truly unique sight, creating a picturesque landscape of small and white and grey pyramidal huts amongst the old town’s narrow and winding streets and Mediterranean vegetation. Though the mortarless building technique dates as far back as the Prehistoric era, most trulli in the town date from as early as c.1350, allowing visitors to be transported to another time. Many of them were built later however, under instructions from Count Gian Girolamo II. A law at the time known as the Pragmatic De Baronibus, established that feudal lords must pay tributes to the Court if they were to establish urban centres. The popular legend has it that, in order to avoid such taxations, the Count instructed the farmers who had migrated there to construct their shelters from the calcareous material locally available, and this without the use of mortar. This meant that when the town was inspected by royal envoys from the Kingdom of Naples – back before the unification of Italy into a single nation – to judge whether taxes should be paid, the shelters could be demolished easily and rebuilt as quickly once they left.
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