O S T U N I
The Italians have their le Città Bianche (White Towns) like the Spanish Pueblos Blancos but unlike them the Italian “white queens” are spread out in several Italian regions. Puglia is an absolute “winner” possessing 7 of them and one of them is the town of Ostuni. It is really known as La Citttà Bianca (the White Town) but at the same time its closeness to the Adriatic coast “colours” it in blue and the numerous vineyards and olive groves bring the green colour. So, how will Ostuni attract you?
Ancient history: The south-eastern parts of the Apennine Peninsula, more precisely the “heel” of the Italian boot, were inhabited by the Messapii (or the Messapians) in the Prehistoric era (in 1000 AD). Hannibal destroyed the town during the Second Punic War and after that it was re-constructed by Greek colonies. Afterwards it was invaded and conquered by the Lombards, Saracens and Normans. In 1507 it was included in the Duchy of Bari (il Ducato di Bari). Later it was proclaimed as a free town by the locals. The kingdom of Spain ruled the town till 1806 and the remains from the Spaniards are the relics of impressive Aragonese defensive walls. Ostuni was also in the hands of the Bourbons and after their reign it was incorporated within the borders of Italy in 1860.
Brilliant geographical location: The tiny Medieval White Town stretches over three hills in the Province of Brindisi, in Puglia. It is only 8 km far away from the Adriatic Sea coast. All this together with the mild climate and its history predisposes the development of tourism, both in summer and winter. The long beaches and crystalline and clear waters attract sea maniacs in summer while the historic heritage from various historic periods amaze lovers of journeys back to history.
“Blue Ostuni” deserves its nickname because of its clean beaches (such as la spiaggia Torre Cane), quieter sand stripes and turquoise sea water. Just a quick note here. The town’s nearby beaches were awarded la Bandiera Blu and cinque vele of Legambiente for four years in row (from 2008 – 2011).
White Architecture: The architecture of Ostuni is typically white-painted. The town’s houses and stairs are completely “drawn” with la calce bianca (white lime) and it’s their dress all the year round. Its labyrinth of narrow white-painted streets and alleyways tempt you to get lost by “telling you”:
“Hey, you … Yes, you, don’t be afraid. Take me and see what I can offer you. Don’t get frightened because the Aragonese walls and the three hills the town is situated on have always protected us and they will protect you as well”.
And when you start wandering here and there, exploring each of them, you will inevitably reach the pinnacle offering amazing, awesome and breathtaking views of the countryside this time in green. Your eyes will stumble upon le masserie pugliese (Puglia farms), some of them fortified and of historical-architectural importance. Some instances are Santa Caterina, lo Spagnulo and San Domenico that were held by the Knights of Malta.
Last but not least, the White City will amaze you with its late 15th century cathedral. It has a very interesting façade. Its pattern is a bit unusual while its beautiful rose window symbolizes the passing of time. What does it mean? The twenty-four external arcades of the rose window represent the days of the day, the internal ones – the moths of the year. The days of the week are the seven heads of the angels surrounding central Christ.