Guide to Ostuni, Puglia


Villas in Puglia near Ostuni >>

Masseria Lamacoppa - Ostuni - PugliaRising high above the vast olive-carpeted plateau of the lower Murgia, Ostuni has long been an awe-inspiring sight for those travelling across Puglia. Strong defensive walls and tumbling clusters of white-washed houses wind around the hillside, at the top of which, proudly surveying the surrounding land, sits the magnificent Gothic cathedral.

First founded by an indigenous tribe some 600 years before Christ, Ostuni’s long and varied history saw it pass from the Romans to the Ostrogoths, from the Lombards to the Saracens, from the Byzantines to the Normans, from the Hohenstaufen to the Angevins and from the Aragonese to the Bourbons. Traces remain from each domination but most of what visitors can see today dates from between the 1400s and the 1700s.

The most distinguishing characteristic of Ostuni, and the reason for its taking the epithet La Città Bianca, is its uniformly white buildings. Originally the practice of lime-washing the town's served as a means of lightening up the dark, labyrinthine mediaeval streets but in the 17th century it became a matter of life and death and was used to limit the depredations of the plague.

Wandering through the streets today, visitors are charmed by Ostuni's mediaeval layout. The narrow back streets, little passages and flights of steps make it delightfully easy to lose one's bearings! Suitably, however, the climax of any visit arrives when you reach the highest part of town, home to the imposing Archbishop’s palace and the 15th century Concattedrale with its curvaceous, symmetrical façade and rose window.

The views from Ostuni are, by themselves, reason enough to make a trip there. Wonderful vistas abound from all angles, the best of which offer 360-degree panoramas of the surrounding countryside and the Adriatic Sea.

The coastline near Ostuni (just 8km away) boasts some of Puglia’s loveliest beaches whose cleanliness and quality of amenities are testified to by the 5 Blue Flags won in recent years.

Festivals and events

- The Cavalcata di Sant’Oronzo, a celebration of the town’s patron saint, takes place between the 24th-27th August. The high point, on the penultimate day, is a knightly, costumed procession on horseback.

- For food lovers, Ostuni is the place to be on 15th August, when the Sagra dei Vecchi Tempi comes to town, offering visitors the chance to try some of the area’s most traditional dishes.

Villas in Puglia near Ostuni >>

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