A pierced heart, a radiated cross, a symbol of Venus, or a Jewish candlestick. Wandering through the streets of the ancient heart of Alberobello it is easy to come across these strange symbols painted on the chianche of the cones of the trulli.
In an age marked by reminiscences of the archaic world and its symbols, discovering the meaning of these huge drawings placed on the houses is a very interesting challenge to face. Unfortunately, the locals, the inhabitants of the houses themselves, know little about their origins: all of them have limited themselves to taking up, with lime, old symbols affixed by their ancestors.
But why mark one's own house with these symbols, poised between pagan and Christian?
Surely to protect one's family from the evil eye or to ingratiate oneself with some propitiatory deity and ensure a good harvest: the same lime, milky white in color, with which the drawings were traced is nothing but a symbol of purification.
Even if today it is impossible to decipher their meaning - every symbol is, in fact, the result of an evolution of ages and reworkings, just think of the transition from pagan to Christian worship - it is possible to classify the over 200 symbols scattered on the trulli of Alberobello in 4 macro-categories:
- Primitive: last legacies of prehistoric graphism, their meaning is unknown to us. Primitive symbols are the radiated cross or the tree cross;
- Magical: they refer to astrological signs of the zodiac. The magical symbols are linked to astrology and the zodiac. Each symbol linked to a zodiac sign would take on a specific request of the family. The most famous symbols are related to Jupiter (a kind of L with an arrow indicating the thunderbolt), the bull, and the trident;
- Christian, the most widespread, those that have mostly come down to us. The Christian symbols, such as the pierced heart of Mary, the radiated Host with the inscription IHS, the Chrismon, or the very famous Cross, express a request for protection to Heaven for the house and its occupants, protection for the harvest, and salvation from Evil;
- The last ones, the ornamental ones, do not have a specific function, but essentially serve to "embellish" the trullo with friezes such as stars, ears of corn, initials of the owners, or any tools that refer to the work done.
A new, additional reason to discover the beauty of trulli and Alberobello.