Trullo Gallo Rosso, where we stayed for several nights while exploring Puglia
When we planned out Voyage to southern Italy, one of the things on my bucket list was to stay in a trullo--the pointy roofed stone houses of Puglia. Trulli are dotted throughout the countryside, some in the more ancient style of chopped-top cone, others abandoned and in ruins, and many in farm complexes made up of as many as 6-8 trulli. Their roofs can be adorned with painted hex symbols by their owners and they are topped with a wide variety of finial, sometimes in the shape of stars. They are restored into B&Bs and year-round villas with some being very chic. But nothing can prepare the Voyager when he visits the UNESCO town of Alberobello, with over 1600 trulli clustered in the town center.
The amazing Miniature Alberobello model is worth seeing... look for the sign in one of the gift shops.
In Alberobello, there are many wonderful gift shops, and while some offer the standard tourist kitsch, what I loved about the town is the amount of local artisans offering their hand made products. You can buy beautiful jewelry in the many different religious and pagan shapes found painted on the pointy roofs, local pottery and ceramics, wooden bread stamps carved with your initials, hand made pocket knives (I came home with a sommelier version)... but my favorite local craft are the miniature trulli. They are all made using local stone to mimic the real stone and techniques used to built the real trulli. There are tiny ones that you can hold in your hand and large ones that you can place in your garden.
Artisans have lots of inspiration with the real world Trulli of Alberobello.
There is a lot of detailed stone cutting involved in creating a miniature trullo
Many use a type of gypsum rock for the main walls
An artisan putting the finishing touches on a rather large trullo
Miniature trulli being sold inside a life-sized trullo
Doll-house sized furnishings
A more ancient type of chopped-top trullo found in the Salento region
A beautiful model of a multi-cone farmhouse
A real trullo under restoration
Here's a short video about trulli and how they make miniatures.
Lucas loved sleeping under the cone shaped trullo roof
Our experience in a trullo inspired one of our Christmas gingerbread house creations
The Christmas season is nearly over with the Epiphany only 3 days away. We will be sad (as usual) to take down the Christmas tree, the decorations and take the lights down from around the outside of our home. This part of Christmas is a bit sad, but then again, we have had wonderful friends visit us, gave each other gifts from the heart, and have had amazing culinary feasts: Lisa's panettone and Christmas cookies, my chocolate pasticiotti, breakfasts of eggs Benedict, panettone French toast, chocolate croissants, and of course, our Baked Ham on Christmas Day and Wild Boar Stew for dinner on New Year Day. We also enjoyed our annual cheese fondue and Greek salad on New Year's Eve with good friends, noisemakers and chilly Prosecco.
I don't know why, but our home felt especially warm this season... if not for the fireplace and mantle that I built last year, certainly for the love we feel for each other in our little Finzi Famiglia.
I just wanted to post some photos of the warmth of our home for you all to share. Please have a safe, healthy and Happy New Year!
Since I was a young boy, wandering further and further from our home, I became fascinated by doors and passageways... doors in vine covered walls, doors in Victorian mansions; doors in old stone buildings; doors of churches; doors in schools; doors in barns; doors in banks; doors in government buildings... always pondering why lies beyond. Some had fancy carved details in wood or perhaps a filigree of metalwork. Others had polished brass or bronze hardware. Still others had stained glass allowing colored light to pour into the spaces they protected.
You can tell a lot by a door. You can tell when there's a lot of history behind it. You can easily determine if the door is a portal to wealth or that people behind it live penny to penny. You can tell if there is importance or elegance in the structure or if the door was borrowed from another structure and made to fit in its new home by some frugal handyman. You can always tell if a door has the same age and patina as the building it is standing guard over.
Then there were the entrances to shops, where you would find an invitation to enter and fulfill your utmost desire: new shoes that let me put a penny in the front; nickle candy and pretzels or amazing chocolate bunny rabbits for Easter; pastries and cakes for our large family; the fantasy world of the local toy store; the art supply store; the stationary store; new clothes for a new school year; just the right tool or part for my father to fix something in our home; special cuts of meats for a holiday meal... I grew up in a town with lots of small Mom & Pop shops that are mostly gone since the mall-sprawl teased their customers away from their doorsteps. I discovered shops like this in Italy, alive and thriving.
As an artist and photographer, I suppose what I love best is the symmetry and texture of doors. The way the light falls across magnificent bas relief carvings or brings out the texture of paint peeling and falling off a weather-worn door. I love their colors, too... often a shocking departure from the rest of the structure. And when doors are flanked by columns, plinths and crowned with intricate pediments, I'm in architectural nirvana. I love the mystery that compels the viewer to enter--even if its only in their minds eye.
I often think of doors in terms of the passage of time, rather than just being a real world passage. I try to imagine who has passed through... perhaps minutes before, or hundreds of years before. I try to hear the children giggling as they poured out in the mornings, or how a father coming home from work after a long day longed for nothing more than to pass through his door and have a meal, spend a few minutes with his wife and kids and finally get a chance to rest... On historic structures, I always imagine the craftsmen who built it. And when I can, I'll slow down, take a turn on the doorknob or a pull at the handle and go exploring...
Enjoy my photographs of the Doors of Italy.
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