Ostuni, Puglia’s White City
March 25th, 2018 by Luiza
This beautiful white city is one of the main attractions in Puglia due to its uniqueness: whitewashed defensive walls, endless view of olive trees, cobbled streets and multitude of steps. Built on top of a hill in the Valle d’Itria, the White Town (La Città Bianca) was invaded and influenced by Greeks, Romans and Goths, being built, destroyed and re-built many times.
Ostuni, Puglia’s White City
The Sourthern part of Italy is absolutely beautiful. Small cities surrounded by olive trees, unlimited Adriatic Sea views, colorful sunrises and peaceful vibe. And Ostuni comprises all of them. It is a perfect place to go if you want to step back from the crowded capitals, to enjoy a glass of wine while you picture an infinite white.
We can honestly say that this city exceeded our expectations. It is small and pretty and it has a homey atmosphere. It is located half way from Bari to Lecce, therefore it was very easy for us to stop here and to explore the surroundings.
What to expect
Beautiful narrow streets and white painted walls
Adriatic Sea views
Friendly locals and relaxing vibe
English is not very common
Dinner time starting 8 PM as the restaurants are closed during the day (at least during winter)
How to get to Ostuni
Easy and cheap, especially from Europe. The closest airports are located in Bari and Brindisi. There are plenty of low-cost airline companies that operates in this area. Ostuni is located 84 km far from Bari and Brindisi is half an hour away (40 km).
Ostuni lies along the main railway from Bari to Lecce so it can be reached very simple from both cities. We found the train journey very comfortable and relaxing during our trip to Puglia. Details about prices or train operators, as well as our experience you can find here.
Where to stay
Hotels, apartments, shared rooms, they will all make you decision easier. You can stay in the old center of Ostuni, being surrounded by white houses, flowers and small local restaurants. But you will also have to face the multitude of tourists during summer.
There are also areas very close to the old city center where the small and narrow streets cover multitude of tiny houses built of stone. This is the option we chose and we were more than happy to experience for 2 days their traditional way of living. The house was about 100 years old, with pieces of stone perfectly shaped to form the inside walls, a little wood door and small windows. We booked this accommodation through AirBnb website and it was exactly what we needed.
What to eat
Well, when in Italy…. pizza and pasta 😀 They are tasty and cheap in Ostuni. You don’t have to try very fancy restaurants (you won’t find too many 😛 ) because this Italian food can be found it in almost every bar or cafeteria. Inside the old city center and at its surroundings there are plenty places where you can eat, from take away shops to outdoor restaurants.
A portion of lasagna starts with €7, a pizza (medium size) it’s about €8-12 and a tea is €1.8-2. Don’t forget about coperto fee, the Italian charge for the tableware. Some of the restaurants charge €2 per table, some or them €2 per client. Just for your info, this fee do not include the tips.
The toughest question is: when to eat? And this is all because Italian people (especially from the South) have the longest siesta we had ever faced. We wanted to have lunch at about 1.30 PM and everything was closed 😐 . And this is not the worst part. What we found very strange is that they open starting 8 PM. So, either you eat a very late breakfast, or at 12 PM you start choosing your food for lunch. Otherwise, you will end up having a cold piece of pizza and a tea, like us.
What to see
The entire city is a real beauty. Strolling around the old town without having a destination is helping you disconnect you from the “always in rush” world and reconnect with yourself. The main street of Centro storico di Ostuni is filled with souvenir shops and local bazaars but what we enjoyed the most was getting lost while exploring the labyrinth of white alleys and archways.
Located on the very heart of the old center, the Cathedral is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Build in the 15th century, the Duomo di Ostuni has both Romanesque and Gothic elements, the most remarkable being the magnificent rose window with Christ at the center.
Opposite the Cathedral, the Scoppa Arch links two palaces: The Bishop’s Palace (Palazzo Vescovile) and the Seminar’s Palace (Palazzo del Seminario). Known in Italian as Arco Scoppa, this beautiful gallery is the most Baroque element of the square.
Very close to the old center exit is Piazza della Liberta that embraces a statue of Sant’Oronzo (Guglia di Sant’Oronzo), who saved Ostuni locals from the plague in 1657 as well as beautiful San Francesco Church (Chiesa di San Francesco) that is worth visiting.
Follow the roads behind this square and wander along local streets to encounter empty parts of this beautiful town. If you love cozy little cities with catchy old stories we recommend to visit La Città Bianca on your trip to this beautiful region of Italy, Puglia.
Greetings from Ostuni!