Any traveller in South Italy who finds himself in that tract of bleak and desolate country which is intersected by the Bari-Brindisi railroad, will not fail to observe many odd-looking structures in the fields. At a distance they appear to be quaint little conical-shaped huts, some 8 or 9 feet in height, fashioned after the manner of round bee-hives, and composed of flat stones, loosely piled together. They are used, so the natives will explain, as shelters for the cattle, as barns, or as store-houses for the fishermen’s nets.
But further enquiry will elicit some stranger information about them—to the effect that these structures date from time immemorial, and that they are called ‘trulli’, although nobody seems to know the reason why, or what the term really means. The traveller will also be told that if he is enterprising enough to make the adventure into the remoter parts of Apulia, he may see a whole city of ‘trulli’, a city of some 12,000 souls, who live in what must surely be regarded as among the strangest human habitations on earth.