In Pursuit of Pugliese Elegance
Trulli La Pietraia and Carola fra I Trulli are two names resembling a magnificent geography: Puglia. Italian architect Carola Altamura, who recently renovated Trulli La Pietraia, a private villa available to rent, describes the happy summer days of her childhood and how this geography she was born in inspired a unique home fragrance collection: Carola fra I Trulli.
Confined to the Adriatic Sea to the east, the Fortone River to the northwest, the Otranto Strait and the Taranto Bay to the south. Yes, we are talking about Puglia. With its magnificent architecture and photographs that resemble postcards, this region, located in the southwest of the Italian boot, is the epitome of an Italian dream in every sense. Puglia may be lesser known than the glorious Amalfi Coast, which is a destination for the world jet-set, and subject to numerous films and songs. However, this does not change the fact that it is home to untouched, artistic, picturesque, historical and traditional villages that continue Italian traditions for centuries.
The Puglian countryside is heaven on earth. The vast olive groves and farm products in typical Italian masserias continue to carry the unique, ancient flavours of this region to the next generations. For this reason, Puglia will always be a place worth visiting.
But Italy's dolce vita is not only represented by gastronomy, traditions or the art of doing nothing. It is the art of enjoying life. Italian talents and creatives continue to be inspired by this concept; culture, architecture and daily life in their beautiful homes. Notoriously famous Italian artists, designers and singers that continue to influence the whole world are just a simple example to this. The unique architecture, colour scale and culture of different regions of this country offer a great potential to inspire different people who grow up in this geography. Perhaps that is why Italian art and talent never comes to an end. The story of Carola Altamura is no different.
Carola is an architect born and raised in Milan, with a Mediterranean soul. She has deep and affective Apulian roots from her father's family, and was raised by her Apulian grandmother, a lover of flowers, plants and animals.
Although she recently arrived in Florence following her Florentine companion, they now continue to keep the Italian beauty at the very centre of their lives. They live in a lovely house with a lovely garden and two dogs. “I put together a mix of different Italian cultures but united by an intense vitality and vibrant love for beauty; I love mixes very much; I think they install a special richness by giving a greater disposition to openness to others as well as greater curiosity to the magic of life,” says Carola.
She has recently restored their family home Trulli La Pietraia, an ancestral home of her family now serving as a private accommodation available for rent from April until November. “Trulli la Pietraia was born in 2015 from the initiative to bring to new life the ancient family trulli, once used as agricultural shelters, which have now become a curated retreat in the Ostuni countryside for contemporary nomads,” says Carola. “A slow place, where you can regenerate yourself in the ancestral charm of the trulli.”
The restoration of Trulli La Pietraia took shape through discrete additions and a gentle recovery of the existing one. “I have chosen to follow the typical hues of the earth, stone, and tufa of the surrounding countryside, both to pay homage to the enchantment of the native trulli but also to create a wonderful unity of the inside and outside of the property.” Carola believes that will provide every visitor a warm welcome and sense of elegant relaxation.
When asked about her memories growing up in Puglia, Carola recalls the memory of happy summers at the sea, spent in the house of her paternal grandparents. “The intense sea, the sun, the chirping of cicadas and nature at the same time are gentle and powerful. As a child I enjoyed collecting baskets full of white starry flowers of jasmine officinalis that grew luxuriantly behind the house and warmed by the sun of the day, giving off an unforgettable fragrance at dusk. I was trying to stare at that wonderful scent.”
These memories, and the scents associated with them inspired her to create Carola fra I Trulli, a newly-found home fragrance brand that is a tribute to the Itria Valley, Apulia, its native flora and its scents.
Carola fra I Trulli is not ordinary; It is meticulously thought, artisan brand that is devoted to this authentic territory, dotted with the white pinnacles of the trulli, ancient agricultural shelters, today transformed into well-kept country retreats for conscious contemporary nomads, just like Trulli La Pietraia.
Based on a design by Carola, the trullo, becomes an iconic object as a candle holder and diffuser holder, entirely handmade in small limited and numbered series by the Master Ceramist of Grottaglie Franco Fasano, reinterpreting the traditional Apulian macchiato technique in new chromatic variations.
Conceived using only natural materials, the collection of ceramic trulli is completed with a selection of vegetal wax candles and glass diffusers both freely combinable that release refined olfactory bouquets.
The debut fragrance, Fig leaves, simple and elegant, evoke the intense scents of the fields after a long sunny day, is the result of collaboration with a renowned French fragrance company. The packages are made of recycled cardboard and raw linen, to help preserve our environment through a conscious and sustainable design, respectful of the inseparable link between craftsmanship and territory.
The unique thing about fragrances is that they have the power to transfer you to a certain memory, or a place. We asked Carola why she chose to create her own candle line, her response did not come off as a surprise. “I love the magic of candles: the dancing flame, its warm light and the silky texture of vegetable wax. My aim with Carola fra i Trulli is to transfer the scent of summer and the atmosphere of the dolce far niente of an Apulian holiday.”
Carola fra i Trulli intends to convey the emotion of a place, the Itria Valley, with its magical landscapes and scents, through an iconic, sustainable product with a distinctive packaging, that make it the perfect gift. Foglie di fico (Fig Leaves) is the delicious first fragrance of the collection, inspired by the fresh and herbaceous smell of fig leaves at the summery sun. Carola says: “I promise you that It will bring you under a fig tree in summer, no matter where you are!”
Carola Altamura is a true representative of the Mediterranean lifestyle and living. She enjoys taking long walks in nature with our dogs; gardening or going shopping at the local market on a sunny Saturday morning and cooking something good while listening to Benny Goodman. The beautiful scents nature has on offer to humankind remain close to her heart of course. “I love the fresh solarity of the white flowers, such as neroli, jasmine.”
As we imagine ourselves going on a warm holiday along the Puglian coast at the Trulli La Pietraia, there will certainly be an expansion of fragrances on the horizon for Carola fra I Trulli. “I would like to expand the collection of fragrances inspired by the native flora of the Itria Valley and its magical views, and to be able to transfer summery emotion into perfumes and much more.” All while Trulli La Pietraia, a spot where this idea is embodied, the real home of these lush fragrances, forever hosting unforgettable dinners at summer evenings, continuing to be a source of inspiration. This is a never-ending love story about Italy and Puglia.
Shop Carola fra I Trulli on here.