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Only in Italy: The Unique Trulli of Alberobello


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Ellen, Colin, and their son Ryan wanted to experience an emotional and thrilling holiday last summer in Italy, specifically in the Apulia region, staying in a typical house in the town of Alberobello: a rural structure called Trullo.

Trulli are limestone houses found in the southern part of Apulia; they are notable examples of construction with dry stone walls (without mortar), employing a prehistoric construction technique still in use in this region. 
Typically, Trulli are made up of roughly worked limestone boulders collected from nearby fields and are characterized by pyramidal, domed, or conical roofs built with cantilevered limestone slabs.
Originally, Trulli were built as temporary shelters, warehouses, or permanent homes by small landowners or agricultural laborers. 
What makes these buildings even more iconic are the white lime color of the walls, the colorful doors, the gray of the roofs, as well as the white religious symbols and the pinnacles above. It is said that the purpose of the latter was to ward off evil influences or bad luck or perhaps to identify the families who lived there.

Ellen, Colin, and Ryan stayed in a genuine Trullo, equipped with a bedroom (featuring oak bedside tables and a chest of drawers). A corridor, adorned with a cupboard and an oak clock, connected the bedroom to the kitchen and the living room, where the typical stone fireplace was located. Arches, niches, and vaults characterize the building. There is also a small bathroom, located under the stairs leading to the roof.
During their stay, they immersed themselves in the culture of Italy and the Apulia region, discovering terracotta whistles in the shape of birds and visiting olive groves and vineyards. 
They also had the opportunity to taste the local produce. Every morning, Antonio passed by with his Ape Car to distribute fruits and vegetables harvested from his vegetable garden; his nephew, Angelo, accompanied him, although he preferred to play with his red and white kite.

The owner of the Trullo, Beatrice, is passionate about gardening: she loves to surround herself with plants and flowers of all varieties and take care of them. In the most disparate vases, we find a great variety of plants: roses, peonies, sunflowers, a large prickly pear plant, a beautiful bougainvillea enveloping the Trullo and giving a note of bright color to the house in the summer months, and - last but not least - a centuries-old olive tree, planted by her great-grandfather.

Bougainvillea is a creeper native to South America that has found perfect environmental conditions in the Mediterranean. Today, it is widespread on all coasts, in Italy, and in other countries overlooking the sea. It belongs to the Nyctaginaceae family and is distinguished by the vivid color of the bracts: the petals, in fact, are not flowers but transformed leaves. These usually shine in magnificent shades of purple or magenta in summer, while in spring the plants appear predominantly green, and between October and November, they fade and take on the typical autumn colors. 
The setup should allow you to change the color of the bougainvillea as the seasons pass, with additional parts.

The white pinnacles at the upper end of the roofs are certainly one of the most typical parts of the Trulli. These elements are thought to ward off bad luck, create a connection with the sun, or even serve as a coat of arms for the owners. Although this tradition has been lost, the charm of the different types of pinnacle remains. 
The setup should therefore allow you to choose how to compose your own pinnacles, thus creating unique Trulli.

The construction technique chosen is that of the Lego Ideas Lighthouse: the walls are composed of Modified Bricks facing outwards, ready to accommodate combined Curved Slopes applied vertically and not horizontally, supported by Plates. The set thus becomes very dynamic. 
I was able to work on the different radii of curvature of the roof and create a curved 'pyramid'.
Inside, the space is square and has smooth walls, so that you can place furniture in the rooms. The parts used in modeling with belong to the BDP Series 4 palette; only the minifigures were changed in the creation of the physical set.
The pyramid roofs and the horizontal roofs of the terraces can be dismantled, allowing you to interact with the furnished interior of the Trulli.

The set features numerous details: the gardening equipment of the owner, the pram for the baby, the birds on the roof, the family of cats (with the carpet on which they rest and their milk bowl), as well as all the furniture. In the bedroom: bedside tables and a dresser. In the corridor: a cupboard and a clock. In the kitchen/living room and pantry: a table and chairs, other kitchen and pantry furniture, as well as the stone fireplace. The bathroom is equipped with a sink and toilet. At the entrance, there are two lanterns, and the courtyard is full of pottery with several plants and flowers.

In addition to the many details, there are also three 'Easter eggs': the key under the doormat (a typical Italian custom now lost), a story box positioned under the bed with old coins, a pocket watch, and old letters that the great-grandfather exchanged with his girlfriend. 
There is also an Italian flag, but it is hidden and will only be seen if the set becomes a reality.

In addition to the set, there is Antonio's Ape Car, a three-wheeled vehicle that Piaggio started producing in 1948. It is considered a true symbol of Italian design worldwide. Used in various ways, it is mostly associated with street vendors (selling fruit and vegetables but also furnishings). Today, it is no longer in production but remains an iconic and very useful vehicle for those who still own one.

A total of 2700 parts were used to create "ONLY IN ITALY: THE TRULLI OF ALBEROBELLO", including all the minifigure parts (4) and animal parts (6), as well as extra parts to change the color of the Bougainvillea and to customize the Pinnacles.
The set measures 20 cm in height, 20 cm in width, and 35 cm in length.

I hope that many of you will want to give recognition to these historic buildings, symbols of a past culture rooted in the territory of the Apulia Region and Italy itself. Also, I’d like to remind you that UNESCO granted Trulli World Heritage Site status in 1996.

Thanks to everyone who watches, shares, and supports my work, and thanks to the LEGO IDEAS team as well.

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