Ostuni, Italy

Ostuni was named “Astu Neon” – meaning “new city” – when the Greeks rebuilt it from the ashes of the Punic Wars in 146 B.C. This ancient city is now commonly referred to as The White City – La Città Bianca in Italian – because the oldest homes still standing were built from white caustic limestone. These structures are highly visible from afar – shining in the Italian sunshine during the day and lit by floodlights at night – as a beacon welcoming visitors from around the world.

Ostuni was built on a hill, just a few miles away from the Adriatic coastline. It is located within Brindisi Province, which is almost at the top of the “heel” of Italy when you consider its boot-like shape. It is believed this region has been inhabited since the Stone Age, some 50,000 years ago. It is now home to 32,000 permanent residents, but this number swells to around 100,000 during the summer months as tourists flock to this historic city.

Ostuni, Puglia, ItalyOstuni has become a popular destination for travelers in recent decades. Its historic center – now known as “Old Town” or “Centro Storico” in Italian – is full of perfectly preserved architectural jewels, including homes, monuments, and beautiful churches. It is a romantic city to wander through, a maze of cobblestoned streets and small alleyways. Visitors enjoy discovering small, family-owned pubs, restaurants, and unique shops around every corner. Lovely views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding farms can be glimpsed throughout the city.

Old Town is surrounded by a defensive wall, which was built centuries ago and then reinforced by the Aragonese in the mid-1400s. The view from the wall is amazing, sweeping across the plains of olive groves, vineyards, and out to the Adriatic Sea. The best-known landmark in Ostuni is the cathedral, Duomo di Ostuni, which was built sometime between 1435 and 1495. Featuring late Gothic architectural style, a magnificent round rose-colored window was built into the facade above the main entrance.

Other notes of interest in Ostuni include the Palazzo Vescovile, Palazzo del Seminario and the Loggia, which includes the remains of a castle built back in 1148. There’s also the Museo di Civita Preclassiche della Murgia, which contains the skeleton of a pregnant woman found in the vicinity. “Delia” was carbon-dated to have died at least 25,000 years ago.

Near the shoreline, a series of watch towers still stand, including the Pylon, Pozzella Tower, and the Villanova. These were constructed back in the early 1500s during the rule of Bona Sforza. These towers were used to keep watch over the sea, protecting Ostuni from invaders of foreign lands. Many tourists flock to Ostuni to enjoy the pristine beaches in the area. The city also has one public park – the Villa Comunale – which is a nice place to enjoy a picnic or stroll.

Ostuni is bustling with tourists between July and August when the weather is at its warmest, but its year-round temperate climate makes it a good place to visit any time. Some noteworthy festivals include the Feast of San Biagio in February, La Cavalcata – a parade of horses – held in August, and the Buskers Festival each September. If visiting around Christmas-time, there is a beautiful living Nativity held in the cathedral.


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