Home tour | Life in an Italian Trullo | Traditional architecture | Interior Design

Home tour | Life in an Italian Trullo | Traditional architecture | Interior Design


The Itria Valley in southern Italy is famous
for stone houses with conical roofs. They’re called known as trulli. Farmers used to live here with their livestock. Today they’re much sought-after holiday homes. Often they are located far off the beaten
track, like Elisabetta trullo, with its two cupolas. Wood used to be stored in the smaller building
— the other one was the living quarters. “When I saw this building for the first time,
I fell in love with it instantly. It was situated magically in this landscape
— like a little doll’s house in the midst of an olive grove. I bought it immediately – even though it was
just a heap of stones.” That was 2003. Less than a year later, she had had the trullo
restored. Its many nooks and crannies and four-metre
high dome were carefully reconstructed. “The family lived under this central dome. The parents used to sleep together with the
youngest children here in the side alcoves on the left. The older children used to sleep up here on
wooden boards under the roof.” To create additional light and space, Elisabetta
Cerioli had openings made in metre-thick dividing walls and windows enlarged. The kitchen and dining table are located in
what was once the goat shed. The reconstruction of the trullo’s conical
roof was particularly time consuming. It was completely dismantled stone by stone
— and then reassembled. “The stones are individually shaped and laid
in such a way that air can circulate, but that rainwater is diverted and doesn’t get
through to the inside. It’s an old craft, which is now being taken
up again by young people and the tradition revived.” The dry stone wall style of construction had
an ulterior motive here: In the past — when imperial checks were imminent –, farmers
used to dismantle their roofs, transforming their homes into a stall for livestock – and
thus dodging taxes. An entire town was even created based on this
principle. In the 17th century, feudal lord Girolamo
make this tax-saving method of construction obligatory. Nowadays, it is listed as a UNESCO world heritage
site — and draws tourists from all over. Elisabetta has extended her trullo — adding
a swimming pool, patio cover and modern annexe at the rear. The bedrooms and guestrooms are accessible
from the front. She retained the original limestone walls
and floors wherever possible. The smallest room is located under the cupola
of what used to be the wood store. What used to be a dwelling place for poor
farmers has been turned into a luxurious house with 200 square metres of living space. Elisabetta’s favorite spot is the light-filled
living room. “This is the rear of the main trullo and here
I had large glass walls installed — to let in more light and to protect against the wind
and the cold in winter. You feel as if you’re sitting outside, but
you’re in the warm house.” At first, Elisabetta planned to use the trullo
as a holiday home. But family and friends enjoy visiting her
here the whole year round. “Some of the ceilings are maybe a bit low,
but they also give you a sense of how the farmers lived here many years ago.” Meanwhile, she has begun producing her own
olive oil on the hectare of adjacent land. She now lives and works most of the year here.

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