Elizabeth Thomsen cc
One glance at the Italian village of Alberobello and you know that you have stumbled across something unique. Neat rows of whitewashed dwellings like something out of a fairy-tale. It's almost as if the Hobbits of Middle-earth had set up a Mediterranean colony.
These strange but charming dwellings are known as trulli. They are built without using mortar, part of a drywall culture of construction which predates written history in this part of Italy. Many of the trulli are around six hundred years old - the large slabs of limestone from which they are built were gathered from fields in the area.