If you are anywhere in the Puglia region of Italy, a day trip to the UNESCO world heritage site of Alberobello should be on your “must do” list. Alberobello is known for its trulli — over 1500 white-washed conical-roofed houses that look vaguely like hobbit houses.
The legend of the trulli holds that they were built as a way to avoid paying taxes. The story goes that back in the 1500’s when the feudal system was still going strong, the local ruling family wanted to avoid paying taxes to the King. So, the peasants were required to build houses without mortar on the theory that they could be quickly dismantled if the royal tax collectors decided to pay a visit. Our friend who lives nearby and whose family used to own a trullo claims that is all BS — and the fact that the trulli are still standing today would appear to support the “this is all BS” theory.
Regardless, the only place you will find trulli is in the Puglia region of Italy so Alberobello is worth a visit, even if many of the trulli are now home to souvenir shops and B&B’s instead of peasants.