Picturesque and all to discover is Ostuni , the White city . Renowned tourist destination, it boasts a wonderful medieval village, full of narrow streets. Among the white alleys of the town it is easy to see why it is called “the White City”: each house is painted white with lime paint.
Renowned tourist center, from 1994 to 2017 it received the Blue Flag and the five sails of Legambiente for the cleaning of the waters of its coast and for the quality of the services offered, becoming the city with the cleanest sea in Italy. Furthermore, in 2005 the Puglia Region recognized the municipality as a “tourist resort”.
On warm Salentine evenings, its pretty cobbled squares and alleys that change color with orange lights are home to the summer nightlife, full of events including street-aperitifs (sack chairs arranged along the stairs for a happy hour or a drink under the stars) , night dinner (very night, as in some restaurants you can even have dinner at midnight) or daily events in the central Piazza Sant’Oronzo.
But let’s discover together what to visit in Ostuni and what are the places of worship of this beautiful city.
What to visit in Ostuni: Historic Center
A walk in the old city, called the “land” to distinguish it from the more recent “marina”, offers picturesque views among alleys, steep stairways, courtyards and small squares overlooked by white houses embellished with geraniums, craft shops, typical restaurants and small shops.
The visit of the historic center of Ostuni allows you to wander, almost losing yourself, among the houses painted with lime milk, suspended arches and rooms “a cave ”dug into the rock where atmospheric rooms have been made.
Walking between one building and another, the blue line of the sea appears on the horizon where the Regional Dune Coastal Park extends, of which we will speak later, with six kilometers of sand covered with Mediterranean scrub.
Between the sea and the village, the terraces and vegetable gardens that from the Middle Ages developed on the remains of a Messapian necropolis near the Madonna della Grata church.
Church of the Madonna della Grata
The Church of the Madonna della Grata in Ostuni, is located downstream of the historic center. It is a beautiful white temple, elegant, sober with a large dome that stands in the middle of the gardens and is radiated by the setting sun. The church renowned for several miracles is actually considered a sanctuary. It is almost always closed except during the processions, where the faithful participate traditionally barefoot.
Piazza della Libertà and Obelisk of Sant’Oronzo
Living room of the city of Ostuni is the Piazza della Libertà on which stands Sant’Oronzo on its spire almost 21 meters high, which has a rich baroque decoration and is surmounted by the statue of saint with miter and pastoral who for centuries has watched and protects the former fourteenth-century convent now seat of the Town Hall with the adjacent church of San Francesco d’Assisi , rich in statues and paintings. From here take the road that climbs towards the Cathedral.
Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Located near the Town Hall (Palazzo Municipale), the church of San Francis of Assisi in Ostuni was originally part of the Franciscan monastery of 1304. During the second half of the seventeenth century the church was renovated under the direction of the masters and sculptors Giuseppe Fasano and Nicolantonio Maldarella. The façade was designed in 1883 by the architect Gaetano Jurleo to harmonize with the new Town Hall building.
Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption
In Gothic-Romanesque style, the Cathedral of Santa Maria of the Assumption recently awarded the title of minor basilica, is among the most beautiful in Puglia. Built between 1435 and 1495 it has an enchanting façade with three rose windows, of which the central one, the only one of its kind and one of the largest in Europe, has its fulcrum in the Cristo Salvator Mundi surrounded by seven cherubs, followed by 12 trefoil arches symbols of the apostles, which then multiply and become 24. To include everything, a ring decorated with figures wrapped in vine shoots and wheat ears, Eucharistic signs of passion. The interior has a Latin cross plan with three naves and features 18th-century forms, with a painted ceiling and Baroque chapels. In the apse there is a richly carved walnut choir dating back to the 1600s.
Museum of Preclassic Civilizations
One of the most fascinating pages of history dating back more than 25,000 years ago, which takes us back to the sanctuary of Santa Maria di Agnano, an ancient place of worship, first pagan and later Christian. Here was discovered the burial of the young woman about to give birth, curled up, with her arm and hand to protect the child she was carrying in her lap and with her wrist and head adorned with jewelry in shells.
In the other rooms, dedicated to the Christian and Messapic ages and to the Paleolithic, other finds recovered in the Ostunese area including the skeleton of another woman who, subjected to analysis with carbon 14, could be dated to 30 thousand years ago.
The Regional Natural Park of the Coastal Dunes
The Regional Natural Park of Coastal Dunes is made up of numerous natural habitats: extensive arable land, protagonists of crop protection projects using organic methods, the ancient olive groves; the Via Traiana, the archaeological and historical-cultural sites, the historic farms and the underground oil mills, the rock settlements, the accommodation structures and the manufacturing companies in the Park Brand, the inhabited centers. A complex area rich in values to be protected and promoted, an area in which the Regional Natural Park of Coastal Dunes, among the most interesting in Southern Italy, plays a role of environmental protection and sustainable economic development of particular relevance.
Beaches Near Ostuni
With 17 km of beaches, alternating dunes covered with age-old juniper trees, sandy beaches, rocks, Aragonese lookout tower and seaside hamlets, Ostuni offers a wide choice of beaches able to satisfy even the most demanding. The coast of Ostuni, along with its countless pristine beaches and coves, will allow you to experience a spectacular holiday from every point of view. One piece of advice we can give you is to book in advance because these beaches are always highly sought after in the summer months. The municipal administration of Ostuni has identified 2 public beach bau where our 4-legged friends are allowed.
The Castellana Caves
The Grotta probably originated in the Upper Cretaceous, about 100 million years ago, when our region was submerged by an ancient sea where molluscs and vegetables lived. The shells of these animals, then deposited on the bottom of the sea, gave birth to a heap of mud and sand, then compressed and become the thick limestone base, several kilometers. The subsequent raising of the land brought out this base, where fractures were created, in which the river water with intense rainfall formed an underground aquifer that dissolved the limestone, creating small ducts and leading to the extraordinary panorama which we now have the privilege of being able to observe.
In this article we wanted to show you what to visit in Ostuni and, above all, that the White City is a perfect destination for family holidays.
We at Palazzo Rodio would be pleased to host you and show you the beauties of Ostuni .
Nineteenth-century palace located in the center of Ostuni. Renovated respecting the original style.