Top reasons to visit Ostuni in South Italy
Otherwise known as ‘the white city’ and might be compared to the fictional Minas Tirith of Gondor from Lord of the Rings, this ancient citadel, fortified by walls that rise above the surrounding low land of the Murgia, certainly does seem straight out of a fairy tale with everything gleaming white against the cerulean blue sky and shimmering Adriatic in the distance. We highly recommend everyone to visit this city in south Italy during your visit to Puglia. We provide a few of many top reasons to visit Ostuni!
1. The Piazza della Libertà is the main square of Ostuni and is the place where you will find the Palazzo di Città which is an old Franciscan monastery, a church of San Francesco in a splendid Rococo style, a Church of the Holy Spirit, and last but not least, the famous Obelisk of Sant’ Oronzo, acting as a meeting point for both tourists and residents, also called La Guglia. In the evening this square, thanks also to the numerous bars surrounding, is one of the main centres of the city’s nightlife. Past and present blend perfectly in this fascinating square, where traces of history blend with commercial activities and cafes, thus creating the real beating heart of the city of Ostuni.
2. The Chiesa di San Francesco was built in 1304 in the Gothic style, the Church of San Francesco is one of the most important churches in Ostuni. Both this building and the adjoining convent underwent profound changes in the 1600s and in the second half of the 1700s. Today the original facade of the church is no longer visible since 1883 when it was homologated to the former convent, which meanwhile became the Town Hall of the city. Its single nave interior is rich in stuccos and wooden statues dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
3. Il Centro Storico is the historic centre of Ostuni and is the “old city”, famous for its completely white houses thanks to their lime covering. To characterise it, in addition to this, there are also the numerous alleys that make their way between the houses, many of which end up in a dead end. The only effective street worthy of the name is the so-called “Via Cattedrale” which cuts the historic centre into two parts.
4. Ostuni Saturday Market. A weekly market on Saturday mornings, located in the Zona Marcatale, is one of the largest in the region of Brindisi, operating all year round and is very popular with locals and also with visitors. You’ll expect to find a full range of products to buy from footwear, clothes, household items, plants, vintage items as well as a large area to buy typical Italian food products including cheeses, fruit and veg, nuts, meats and fish. The location is a fifteen-minute walk from The Piazza della Libertà.
5. Obelisco di Sant’ Oronzo is Located within the perimeter of Piazza della Libertà, almost 21 meters high and dates back to around 1771. The obelisk is, in fact, a tribute to the protector of the city, Sant’ Oronzo. Carved in Baroque style in local stone, the obelisk has Latin inscriptions and at its top is the statue of the Saint, depicted in the act of blessing the people. The column was built as an ex voto after the miraculous protection operated by Sant’ Oronzo against famine and epidemics.
6. The Coastal Dunes Park is undoubtedly a must for nature lovers. Large 1,100 hectares, it contains various habitats which follow one another along the 8km of coastline and agricultural areas that compose it. Walking through the paths that cross it, you will immerse yourself in the most classic Apulian landscapes, made up of centuries-old olive groves and ancient farms, typical of these areas. The park is relatively young, since it was established in 2006 to conserve and recover animal and plant species that would otherwise be in danger of being lost forever. The basic itinerary, in the heart of the park, lasts about two hours.
7. Ostuni is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Puglia, not only for the sea and the beauty of the historical centre, but also for its nightlife. We recommend some places that you can’t miss for a drink to take a moment to relax.
- Il Monna Lisa Caffè is a small corner of relaxation that encompasses harmony, love and dedication. You will enter a cozy living room where chatting and good drinking will be accompanied by the most excellent music.
- Borgo Antico Bistrot. Walking through the narrow and white alleys of the historic centre of Ostuni you reach the Borgo Antico Bistrot, where an aperitif is served at tables located along a steep alley complete with a breath-taking view!
- Bar 83 Ostuni. Bar 83 is one of the best trendy clubs for young people in the Apulian town. A great place for both eating and drinking, as well as listening to live music! In addition to excellent drinks, the restaurant’s specialty is pastry
8. Eating in Ostuni is a must while visiting. We have suggested just a few of a huge range of places to delight your senses. These include:
- Osteria del Tempo Perso. Located in a cave in the heart of the historic centre of Ostuni. It is famous for its typical dishes of the Apulian culinary tradition.
- Trattoria Fave e Fogghje. This place is synonymous with quality and tradition! It is a restaurant with unique and particular settings, full of antiques that make the environment very welcoming.
- Il Posto Affianco. This historic restaurant in Ostuni has a unique location with an ancient oven from the 1500s, which has made it a real museum of Ostuni’s peasant life. The menu offers great classics of the Apulian cuisine.
- Dish is a culinary laboratory where taste harmoniously blends with traditional flavors, making the cuisine unique and original. This place is a welcoming location with a spectacular view.
9. If Ostuni is just the beginning of your journey in Puglia, we recommend some hot spots to check out while in the area. These include Brindisi, Cisternino, Carovigno, Locorotondo, Martina Franca, Alberobello and Polignano al Mare to name a few.