14 May 2019

In most cases, the words "home renovation" arouse mixed feelings, the intensity of which moves in a spectrum ranging from anxiety to terror.

There are many reasons for this and they can all be superimposed: the fear of the "unknown", of not knowing exactly what the final result will be, the fear of unforeseen events, the uncertainty due to not having a sure date for the end of the work or the final amount that will be spent.

These fears are amplified exponentially if the renovation concerns a trullo, whose restoration requires experience, labor, and knowledge that are increasingly rare to find.

That's why we asked Francesco Serra, who leads, with the help of his father Donato, the company Edilserra, specializing for over 40 years in the restoration of Trulli, what mistakes we should avoid when we undertake the renovation of a trullo.

Here's what we found out:

1. Haste: when renovating a trullo, the anxiety of finishing quickly is our worst enemy. We should not be in a hurry when it comes to the execution of the work, nor in the preliminary phase of design, the definition of the work, choice of company, and so on. It's better to lose a little more time to make precise surveys of the state of affairs, to look for the perfect solution, pondering everything well, rather than having to stop work after it has begun because some things were not planned.

2. Rely on the wrong people: Trulli are dry-built structures, in which every single work must be done manually. This requires great experience and considerable expertise: you have to be smart and "trained" enough to understand by eye what kind of interlocking of stones there is. Remember that unlike another concrete house, the trullo, if incompetently restored, could even collapse! Choose very carefully the company that, in the restoration of Trulli, is perhaps the most important thing: often in an attempt to save money we choose by word of mouth or favoring those who offer us the best price, but it is good to assess the reliability of the company and its adequacy with respect to the type of work to be performed;

3. Change the prospectus of the trullo: there are Trulli ultra-centenary, which have survived centuries of changes. There must be a reason...

4. "Strip" the cone of a trullo completely: on the contrary, the only technique is that of the "scuci e cuci", which consists of "scucire", that is, dismantling small cones and sewing them back together piece by piece, integrating or reworking the stones where necessary. We try to use the original material as much as possible where possible, replacing only when necessary with new stones always worked manually;

5. Use mechanically processed stones: often, wandering in the countryside of Valle d'Itria, I notice the Trulli with perfect cones, so embedded as not to leave even the smallest crack. In this case, we have used stones obtained from mechanically cut slabs, which reproduce the original shape of the chianche. Remember that, in the restoration of a trullo, everything must be recovered by hand and dry, resuming the work of our ancestors!

6. Distorting the interior: the rooms must remain as faithful as possible to the original. Attention: no cement mortar for plastering. Also any new openings - only if allowed by the superintendence - must be made dry using the method of the "scuci e cuci" with the only help of props and wooden ribs as support.


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