For your first day, we suggest you to visit the gleaming white town of Ostuni (Puglia) and its valley plenty of ancient olive trees. Driving through the beautiful Valle d’Itria (Trulli country!), you will see Ostuni long before you arrive; the vast ‘White City’ rising high above the ocean of olive trees that sweep through this verdant area of Puglia.
Ostuni, Puglia, is a city to explore: 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. Take a stroll in the old town centre, called “la terra” (the land) to distinguish it from the more recent “marina”: it offers picturesque spots amid the alleys, sloping stairs, courtyards and small squares, where whitewashed houses appear, embellished with geraniums, craft shops, typical restaurants and small shops.
Don’t miss a stop in the Ostuni’s countryside, a land dotted with masserie (farmsteads), mostly turned into holiday farmhouses (agriturismi) and luxury resorts. Among them, there is “Masseria Brancati” where you can make a visit to the traditional olive oil mill.
Here you will listen their compelling history; you will learn their main characteristics and the techniques used to produce organic EVO oil.
Legend has it that it was Athena, who planted the first olive tree and that from its fruits the men obtained a very precious and useful juice of the oldest plants of Apulia territory.
You will finish the visit with a tasting of different extra virgin olive oils on dry frisellines telling the production of green gold and its properties and benefits, which make it “the gold” par excellence!
Did you Know?
Puglia produces almost 40 percent of the olive oil in Italy. There are some 60,000,000 olive trees here, and millions of them are so old they are protected by the government.
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.
For a taste of Puglia: Cibus Restaurant at Ceglie Messapica
This small restaurant is perfect for romantic summer evenings in the charming town of Ceglie Messapica.
Request a table toward the front, where there is no roof and order the whole-wheat spaghetti with burrata, basil and tomato, and drizzle olive oil on top.