I am somewhere over the ocean in my trek home from an incredible visit to Noci in Southern Italy. This trip capped off three weeks of October travel madness; a trip the beautiful beaches of Thirty-A and Seacrest in Florida, to Ft. Worth, Texas, for business, to Vancouver for a conference, two recitals and a lecture, and then this week of judging some incredibly talented young clarinetists from all around the globe. I feel inspired and grateful for what has been such a positive experience in every way. I am so very grateful for a career that affords me these opportunities.
Aside from getting to make some good new friends and hearing some stunningly good clarinet playing, my favorite part of this trip was our visit to Alberobello to see the Trulli structures. I had seen a show on the Travel Channel about them several years ago and- in my ignorance- had no idea that I was going to be so close to them in Noci.
The Trulli village was named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1996 because it is an exceptional example of a form of building construction that derived from prehistoric techniques that have survived intact and are still functioning in the modern world. A Trullo is a small limestone house, made with drywall, roughly worked limestone boulders collected from neighboring fields and topped with a conical roof. The Trulli are typical of Alberobello.
Walking into Alberobello was like visiting a fairytale world and I’m pretty sure that I entertained our tour guides with my childlike excitement over everything that they showed us. I don’t mind; it was fascinating. The history, the beauty, getting to see the two parts of the village; one that had been transformed into tourist shops and the other residential section where people live in these interesting conglomeration of Trullis.
The guides described how people lived in four Trullis connected together, with each part having a designated role. The thick walls kept things cool in summer and were built in a direction to block the cold winds of winter months. Because water can be scarce in the region, the roofs were designed to channel the rain and collect it down the hill. I loved the special stones unique to the area used to create the distinctive roof tops, many decorated with either Christian or pagan signs.
I have a thing about physically touching history. I like to walk on old cobblestone streets where history has happened and touch the stone walls of ancient places and wonder what life was like when they were created. I did the same with the Trullis, touching their walls and their stone roofs. I could feel the life that had happened in and around them. What a gift to visit places like this and connect with them.
I will be so happy to sleep in my own cozy bed tonight next to my sweet Dan, the pups at our feet…but I will dream of Italy; the sun and beauty, the amazing food and wine, and mystical aura of the Trullis and the stamp they left on my heart.