Ostuni can be seen from afar, its white buildings are stretched across three hills, is in the south-east corner of the Valle d’Itria, marking the end of the Trulli area and the beginning of the Salentina Peninsula. This exquisite little city, with its 15th century cathedral, is situated close to a tranquil stretch of coastline. As you travel along the main Bari – Brindisi road, a little north of Brindisi, look inland and you will see Ostuni, the White City, on the hills in the near distance.
It is known as the “White City” because of its whitewashed streets and buildings. In the 17th century when the plague was rife, it is believed that many of the citizens of Ostuni survived because of the lime-based whitewash, used to paint all the buildings, acted as a disinfectant. The cathedral and town centre are surrounded by medieval ramparts, the streets are narrow, and often steep, winding up and down the hills. In the centre, as well as the ornate cathedral there are several lovely baroque monuments. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from when you decide to stop for lunch or dinner. Try La Gelosia, right in the historic centre, with pretty gardens and local food.
The farmers’ market on a Saturday is held in the newer part of Ostuni, on Via Sansone, about 10 to 15 minutes walk from the historic centre. It’s well worth a stroll around offering an extensive selection of fresh, seasonal food as well as legumes, deli meats and cheeses, olives and nuts.. On the second Sunday of every month, in the Villa Communale park an Antiques and Bric-a-Brac market takes place.
If you are in Puglia in August, try not to miss Ostuni’s main festival, La Cavalcata which takes place on 26th August. La Cavalcata is a horse parade that follows the procession of Saint Oronzo, the protector of the city. A silver statue of the saint is carried in memory of the knights who protected the pilgrims, on their way to sanctuary, from the attack of bandits. Horse and riders have mantillas and costumes with gold or silver embroidery, an impressive sight.
If you want to try something a little different check out the Ostuni Adventure Park, Ciuchino Birichino, 2.7 km from the centre of Ostuni. At the park, you can walk along pathways strung up amongst the trees, take a bicycle tour. go horse-riding, see the Falcons, try your hand at sports climbing or simply wander the nature trails. On the top of my to-do list for 2021!