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Ostuni, Province of Brindisi, Puglia

ostuni coatofarms Situated west of Brindisi, on the Murge hills covered with alive trees, gently descending to the sea.

The ancient part was built on seven hills, on the highest of which is the medieval citadel called "La Terra", surrounded by walls and round towers, with typical narrow alleys, arches, stairways and the famous whitewashed color of all the houses, for which it is known as the "White City".

Info

  • Altitude: m 218 a.s.l
  • Population: about 35,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code:
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 .

History

The name probably derives from the Latin Hostunium, a contamination of the Greek expression astu neon, meaning new town, while other ethimologies connect it to Histonium, the ancient name of the Abruzzi town of Vasto.

Its strategic position in the vicinity of the sea made Ostuni a key center, and to defend it from the many invasions ir was fortified repeatedly in the centuries. Inside the walls, the maze of alleys was feared by the enemies, that could easily be attacked, in case they had succeeded in entering the walls, once they got lost and dispersed.

Events and Festivities

  • 26-27 August: the Cavalcata di Sant'Oronzo, a medieval parade with horses and riders in costumes, following the Saint's statue. The celebration commemorates the plague of 1656, from which Ostuni was miraculously spared.
  • Second Sunday, every month, the antiques market of the Zacaredde, that is items in common use in the past
  • Christmas season, part of the historical center is turned into a living crib.

What to see

  • The cathedral of Santa Maria dell'Assunzione, declared a national monument, which rises on the highest spot of the town; it was built on the site of the ancient castle in the mid-15th century by bishop Nicola Arpone from Taranto. The facade contains a miscellany of styles, from the late Romanesque, which is very rare in Apulia, to the Gothic and Byzanthine, and has 3 portals, each surmounted by a lunette and a rosewindow. The central rosewindow, of great beauty, has an external frame where the 12 apostles are represented. The central lunette has a bas-relief with the Virgin and Child, and the kneeling bishop that offers the cathedral, the lunette on the right represents St John and the one on the left St Blaise.

Where to stay