Valle d'Itria

Alberobello, Unesco Heritage.

Text translated by Emilio Acquaviva - Trainee

In 1996 Alberobello was proclaimed World Heritage Site because of uniqueness of his most ancient nucleus formed by Trulli.

The most widespread  thesis about historical origins of Alberobello is based on existence of a wood called Silva Arboris Belli on the hills where nowadays there is the city, already populated in 15th century when the seignior of those territories was the Count Andrea Matteo Acquaviva d' Aragona, who gave to settlers both the lands and the power to build dry stone dwellings. In this way was created the first primitive nucleus of city populated by stone huts.
Instead recent studies appoint as real founder of Alberobello the Count Gian Girolamo II Acquaviva d’ Aragona who, in 17 century, let households to populate his hunting reserve, called Difesa Arboris Belli,because they required plots of land to survive.
Those first settlements were named Nido di Fuoriusciti (nest of the fugitives), seeing they are insolvent debtors, poor people that couldn’t pay taxes. Many people came from neighboring countries to deforest the Selva and cultivate in exchange for a tenth of the harvest to the Count. The Count started a modernization and development  policy of place resources by building an inn in 1635, in the confluence of important roads, that it became a good income for Count family. The inn was, infact, provided with stables, with tavern, rooms for wayfarer,mill,oven and with a butcher shop. This thesis redeem the Count Girolamo II, called Guercio di Puglia, always regarded as a cruel seignior, now  described as  a benefactor. He, infact,  welcomed in his lands poor and underdogs wich  didn’t have to pay taxes and by ensuring  them useful services for agricultural works.
Therefore the wood Silva Arboris Belli became a village with rustic dry stone ( without mortar) buildings, with a church built on the outskirts in XVII century in which the image was venerated of the “Beata Vergine di Loreto and on the sides  St. Cosma and St. Damiano and God above".  It ‘s handed down that Guercio di Puglia was a devotee of the Saints Medici Cosma and Damiano, so much to instill the worship inside the village, ehere has tooken root and he became one of the most important of Murgia dei Truli. The Alberobello  feast day of the St. Medici, in September, involves thousands of pilgrims who come, all day long (even during night) , from neighbouring  towns to city shrine by walking rural road.
After Guercio di Puglia death, the crowded farmhouse, despite he was regarded by earl family as demic centre, it was hidden from the state. The official avowal was on 1797. For that occasion the king Ferdinando IV came to Apulia. A delegation of some braves inhabitants of Woods came to Taranto, where was accomodated the king, to ask him the freeing  from feudal power. The king, through an act, turn the village into a royal city, so since that moment people could built with mortar and no more with dry stone. So it was found Alberobello town, named so because of arbore bello, a majestic oak, still alive in the first decadesof 18th century, who named the surrounding wood, the silva arboris belli, where there was the primitive village. Ater king act, Alberobello grew with new stone and mortar house and by keeping on  the building of stone huts, Trulli, that was epanded inside and became more comfortable. Those trulli now are the most ancient nucleus of Alberobello, unique in the world, for this reason Unesco Heritage since 1996.

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