Ostuni, also known as the “White City”, is a charming hilltop town located in the heart of Puglia. It is a popular destination for tourists who want to experience the beauty and culture of Southern Italy while also enjoying a slower pace of life. In this post, we will explore the highlights of Ostuni and what makes it such a unique and special place to visit.
The first thing that strikes visitors to Ostuni is its stunning white buildings. The town’s historical center is a maze of narrow, winding streets lined with whitewashed houses, shops, and restaurants. The buildings are so white that they seem to glow in the sunshine, and this is where the town gets its nickname, the “White City.” The white buildings are not just for aesthetic purposes; they were traditionally painted this way to reflect the intense sunlight and keep the interiors of the buildings cool.
One of the most iconic landmarks in Ostuni is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. This impressive structure dates back to the 15th century and features a beautiful rose window, a Romanesque portal, and a baroque bell tower. Inside the cathedral, visitors can admire the stunning frescoes and ornate decorations.
Another must-visit attraction in Ostuni is the historic center. The center is a labyrinth of narrow streets, alleys, and staircases that wind their way up the hillside. Visitors can explore the area on foot, taking in the stunning architecture and enjoying the picturesque views of the surrounding countryside.
Ostuni is also famous for its food and wine. The region is renowned for its olive oil, which is produced from the thousands of olive trees that dot the landscape. Visitors can sample the local olive oil and other Puglian specialties, such as burrata cheese, fresh seafood, and pasta dishes, in the town’s many restaurants and cafes.
Things to do in Ostuni
There are plenty of things you can do to make the most of your time in this beautiful town. Here are some suggestions for a day trip itinerary and some of the best classes and experience you can have in the town:
- Start your day with a stroll through the historic center. Wander through the winding streets and alleyways, taking in the white-washed buildings and charming architecture. Don’t forget to stop by the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and admire its beautiful rose window.
- Enjoy a traditional Italian breakfast at one of the town’s cafes. Order a cappuccino and a croissant, or try some of the local pastries and cakes.
- Visit the Palazzo Ducale. This beautiful palace dates back to the 16th century and features stunning Renaissance architecture. It now houses the Ostuni Archaeological Museum, which is home to a collection of artifacts from the Bronze Age to the Roman period.
- Have lunch at one of the town’s many restaurants. Sample some of the local specialties, such as fresh seafood or pasta dishes made with locally-produced olive oil.
- Spend the afternoon relaxing on one of the nearby beaches. Torre Guaceto and Lido Morelli are both within a short drive of Ostuni and offer beautiful sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters.
- As the sun begins to set, head back into town and enjoy an aperitivo at one of the local bars. Sip on a refreshing cocktail or a glass of wine and soak up the atmosphere of this charming town.
Classes and tours
- Ostuni Walking Tour: This tour takes you on a guided walk through the charming streets of Ostuni’s historic center. You’ll learn about the town’s history, culture, and architecture, and visit some of its most iconic landmarks, such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Palazzo Ducale.
- Cooking Class: Take a cooking class and learn how to prepare traditional Puglian dishes. You’ll use locally-sourced ingredients and learn about the culinary traditions of the region.
- Olive Oil Tasting: Puglia is famous for its olive oil, and this tour takes you to a local farm to learn about the production process and sample different varieties of olive oil. You’ll learn about the history and culture of olive oil production in Puglia and taste some of the best oils in the region.
- Wine Tasting: Puglia is also renowned for its wines, especially the full-bodied red wines produced from the Primitivo grape. Take a wine-tasting tour and visit local wineries to learn about the production process and sample some of the best wines in the region.
- Bike Tour: Explore the countryside around Ostuni on a bike tour. You’ll cycle through olive groves, vineyards, and fields of wildflowers, stopping along the way to enjoy the scenery and learn about the local agriculture and rural traditions.
Best beaches to visit nearby
Ostuni is also located near some of the most beautiful beaches in the region, making it a great destination for those looking for a mix of culture and seaside fun. Here are some of the best beaches near Ostuni.
Torre Guaceto is a protected marine area that boasts a long stretch of pristine beach and crystal-clear waters. This beach is a paradise for nature lovers, with dunes, wetlands, and rocky cliffs that create a unique landscape.
Rosa Marina is a long, sandy beach that stretches for over two kilometers. The beach is known for its turquoise waters and fine sand, making it a popular destination for families with young children. Rosa Marina has several beach clubs that offer umbrellas, sun loungers, and various water sports activities, making it an ideal spot for a day of fun in the sun.
Pilone Beach is a hidden gem. This secluded beach is surrounded by cliffs and has crystal-clear waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is not equipped with amenities, so visitors need to bring their own food and drinks. The lack of facilities also makes Pilone Beach a great spot for those looking for a quiet and peaceful day at the beach.
Lido Morelli is a beautiful sandy beach which is equipped with all the necessary amenities, including sun loungers, umbrellas, and bars. The water is shallow and calm, making it a great destination for families with young children.
Places to see near Ostuni
Here are some places you can visit near Ostuni:
Alberobello: This town is famous for its trulli, traditional Puglian houses with conical roofs that are made of limestone. Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its picturesque streets and unique architecture.
Lecce: Known as the “Florence of the South,” Lecce is a beautiful baroque city that is home to stunning churches, palaces, and squares. You can explore the old town on foot and visit attractions like the Basilica di Santa Croce and the Piazza del Duomo.
Polignano a Mare: This picturesque seaside town is located on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea. It’s known for its white-washed buildings, narrow streets, and stunning views. You can explore the old town and visit the famous beach, Lama Monachile.
Matera: This town is famous for its Sassi, ancient cave dwellings that were inhabited by people for thousands of years. Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its unique architecture, rich history, and beautiful views.
Castellana Grotte: This town is home to a network of underground caves and caverns that are over 90 million years old. The caves are known for their stunning stalactites and stalagmites, and you can take a guided tour to explore them.
By Plane: The closest airport to Ostuni is Brindisi Airport (BDS), which is about 30 kilometers (18 miles) away. You can take a taxi or hire a car to get to Ostuni from the airport. Alternatively, you can fly into Bari Airport (BRI), which is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) away. From there, you can take a train or hire a car to get to Ostuni.
By Train: Ostuni has a train station that is well-connected to other cities in Puglia and the rest of Italy. You can take a train from cities like Bari, Brindisi, Lecce, and Rome. The journey from Bari or Brindisi takes about 1 hour, while the journey from Rome takes about 5 hours.
By Bus: There are several bus companies that operate routes to Ostuni from other cities in Puglia and the rest of Italy. Some of the main operators are Flixbus and Marino Bus. The journey from Bari or Brindisi takes about 1 hour by bus.
By Car: If you’re driving, you can take the A14 highway from Bologna to Bari, and then take the SS379 and SS16 highways to Ostuni. The journey from Bari takes about 1 hour.
Ostuni is famous for its historic center, which is perched on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside. The center is known for its striking white-washed buildings, narrow alleys, and beautiful architecture that reflects the city’s long history. The town is home to several historic churches, including the Cathedral of Ostuni and the Church of San Francesco.
Ostuni is definitely worth a visit! The historic center of Ostuni, known as the “White City,” is particularly worth seeing. If you’re interested in history, culture, and natural beauty, Ostuni is definitely worth a visit. With its charming atmosphere, stunning architecture, and beautiful beaches, it’s sure to leave a lasting impression.