Ostuni or as many people call it “La Città Bianca” (The White City) is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Puglia. Its region is well known for producing high quality olive oil and wine.
The legend says that the town was originally built by the Messapii tribe and destroyed by Hannibal during the Punic Wars. After that it was again re-built by the Greeks.
A “MIRACLE” BEHIND LA CITTÀ BIANCA
This stunning fortified hill town hides a little secret behind its white-washed walls. In the 17th century a plague came to town and killed a lot of people. They wanted to disinfect the entire city so they painted all the houses white by mixing limestone dust with water. After that people noticed that it worked and everyday less and less people were ill. They assigned it to a miracle by the patron saint Sant’Oronzo who saved them. Since then they were repainting their houses every year because they believed it kept them away from plague. Nowadays it’s just a matter of tradition and a perfect tourist attraction.
There is nothing better for you to do than just start walking around and get lost in its beautiful white narrow streets. It definitely feels more like you are in Greece than in Italy. These whitewashed walls definitely brought a lot of charm to the town.
PIAZZA DELLA LIBERTÀ
Piazza della Libertà is the main square in Ostuni. In the middle you can find the statue of Sant’Oronzo, the patron saint of Lecce, who saved Ostuni from the plague in the 17th century. They built this statue to honour him and they hoped he will protect them from the future plagues too.
The 15th-century Cathedral of Ostuni is a Roman Catholic, Gothic-style cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Have a look on its impressive ceiling paintings, a frilly rose window and an inverted gable.
Arco Scoppa is a bridge connecting the Bishop’s palace to the cloisters of the cathedral. It was built in 16th century and nowadays it’s one of the most important landmarks of Ostuni.
THE DEFENSIVE WALLS OF OSTUNI
The walls of Ostuni were built in the late Middle Ages to protect the old town from enemy threats. The inhabitants would throw stones and boiling oil from the top of the walls onto any invaders below. The walls had four entrances but only the latter two have survived.
Have a walk down the Oronzo Quaranta street which will take you along these walls. You will have a beautiful view of the whitewashed walls on one side and the Adriatic Sea and the olive tree groves on the other side.
OSTUNI TOURING (35min ride – 20EUR/person)
We can recommend to take a tour with “Ostuni Touring”. A 35min ride around the entire town on one of the most symbolic vehicles that Italy offers you – the APE. Its name in italian means “bee” and it’s actually a sister to the iconic VESPA that in italian means “WASP”. They are gonna show you the best spots in Ostuni and provide you a very interesting history lesson about the town through the entire tour.
For the sunset, head to the beautiful viewpoint right outside of the old town (Viewpoint Corso Vittorio Emmanuel II). You are going to see the entire town on the top of the hill right in front of you. If you can’t make it there for sunset, make sure you visit it at least during the day. It is absolutely worth it!
FAMOUS BLUE/GREEN DOOR OF OSTUNI
Very popular spot for photographers is this charming blue/green door. You can find it very easily if you navigate yourself to Bianc’Ostuni restaurant.
LA CALVACATA DI SANT’ORONZO (FESTIVAL)
This festival takes place every year from 25th to 27th of August in honour of the patron saint Sant’Oronzo. Among the other shows and events, the famous horse parade is the most memorable one. Horses and horse riders in beautiful colourful costumes are walking down the streets while the music is playing . The festival’s origin dates back to 17th century in order to thank the patron saint Sant’Oronzo for saving Ostuni from plague.
Among the other traditional dishes, Puglia region is especially famous for making delicious orrecchiette and serving fresh fish and sea food. The restaurants in Ostuni are very affordable. You can find very good quality food and traditional dishes for a very cheap price all around the town.
HOW LONG TO STAY?
Ostuni is a small town and you can easily visit it in one day. It is a perfect stop on your Puglia itinerary. The closest airports are Brindisi (35min) and Bari (1h).
If you decide to do a Puglia road trip, make sure you check out our
Polignano A Mare travel guide http://borntotraveldiaries.com/polignano-a-mare-travel-guide/
Alberobello travel guide http://borntotraveldiaries.com/alberobello-travel-guide/
We hope this blog post was helpful to you and you are gonna have a great time while visiting Ostuni. For more pictures and videos check our story highlight (Ostuni). If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment bellow or contact us via email or even better via Instagram @borntotraveldiaries Thank you for your time and stay tuned for our next diary page 🙂.