Ostuni, the gleaming white town, is the most typical and most representative town of the Itria Valley, Puglia. The beauty of Ostuni is in a particular mix of characteristics such as its white houses in a maze of streets which recalls an Arab Kasbah and its architecture in harmony with the surrounding landscape made of olive trees that reach the blue Adriatic sea.
Ostuni is a city of explorers: built on the top of the hill to protect from invaders, Ostuni is a maze of alleyways, dead ends and pretty little gardens, glimpses of the Adriatic sea, green doors and bright blue skies.
As with every Puglian town and village, the very best can be discovered simply by taking a walk through the old town.
The main street in Ostuni “Via Cattedrale” is lined with boutiques and souvenir shops selling local olive oil and Salentino sandals, but the best way to experience the town is by diving down the narrow side streets and like the invaders once did, getting lost.
At an Ostuni’s highest point you’ll find the Cathedral, built in the 15th century in the late Gothic style with a façade sporting a 24-rays rose window of rare beauty.
Along the Via Cattedrale, which divides into two parts the medieval heart of town, there is the former Carmelite Monastery, nowadays seat of the Museum of pre-classical civilization of Southern Murgia, which contains the calque of Delia, a pregnant woman who lived 25,000 years ago.
A series of churches and elegant houses embellish the old town, surrounded by Aragonese walls, where there are the two ancient town gates, Porta Nova and Porta San Demetrio.
Walking around Ostuni Old Town (Itria Valley, Puglia) is definitely the best way to make the most of your time there. However, another fun way to enjoy the White City is by riding a legendary Ape Callesino, one of Italy’s most iconic vehicles alongside the Vespa, the vintage Fiat 500 and so many more.
Keep in mind that, although it’s genuine and great fun, an Ape tour is quite pricey at 15€/person for a 30′ tour of Ostuni.
Ostuni Travel Tips:
- Ostuni (Itria Valley, Puglia) is lovely at any time, but at sunset is an experience you will hardly forget. For a fantastic view of the White City, walk along Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and after a few hundred meters on the left you will find a panoramic viewpoint.
- With all the amazing things to do in Ostuni (Itria Valley, Puglia), it is easy to forget that it is also located just a stone’s throw (or, a short drive) from some of the most beautiful beaches in Puglia, all found along the aptly named ‘Marina de Ostuni’. Be sure to check out Lido Morelli, Pilone, in the Natural Park of Dune Costiere and the Natural Reserve of Torre Guaceto.
Don’t miss: Sant’Oronzo Festival
One of the most important summer festivals is that of Sant’ Oronzo in honour of the patron saint that takes place every year on 25 th, 26 th and 27 th of August.
The festival has various events, the most noteworthy of which is the famous horse parade, where a procession of horses with colourful saddle cloths and horse riders with red arabesque costumes of white lace accompany the patron saint in a procession.
The festival originates from around the 1650’s when Italy was struck by the plague, to thank the saint for the averted peril. Throughout this period there is the Market of Sant’ Oronzo.
Of antique origins, this market revives typical traditional commerce, including the trade of animals and handicrafts still in use in the countryside.