Ostuni, what to do and see in the white city

Updated at: 25-03-2024

Ostuni, what to do and see in the white city

The White City, the name by which Ostuni is known in the world, is one of the most important cities of Salento from an artistic point of view but also from an economic point of view.

Ostuni is a village of 30,000 inhabitants located on the hills in the province of Brindisi, just 7 km away from the Adriatic Sea. Ostuni is renowned for its ancient structures and alleys built in local pale stone and for the whitewashed houses. Ostuni is the jewel among the Salento cities in the Itria Valley and its narrow alleys offer breathtaking views and panoramic views both on the sea side and inland.

Ostuni is one of the most important tourist destinations in Salento thanks to the ability of citizens to renew and evolve while keeping the historical, artistic and cultural heritage of the city intact. The village makes a great contribution to the well-being of the region thanks to the quality agricultural production of typical Apulian products and traditional artisanal and artistic productions.

Even today Ostuni maintains a very strong bond with the ancient traditions of the Salento area.

What to see in Ostuni

Among the most beautiful things to see in Ostuni are:

  • Piazza della Libertà (Large square with a retro charm)
  • Column of Sant'Oronzo
  • Church of San Francesco d’Assisi
  • Diocesan Museum of Ostuni
  • Ostuni Cathedral (Stone carvings and richly decorated paintings)
  • Arco Scoppa
  • Capuchin Church
  • Rector's Church of San Vito martyr
  • Porta San Demetrio
  • Sanctuary of the Madonna della Grata
  • Tanzarella Palace
  • Museum of Preclassical Civilizations of Southern Murgia (in former monastery)
  • Contemporary art gallery "Orizzonti Arte Contemporanea"
  • Adventure Park "Ciuchino Birichino"

Ostuni is a very pleasant village to visit both for a day trip and for longer holiday periods.

If you want to stop and visit the palaces and points of interest of course one day is not enough, but the summer visitors who prefer to move every day to different places in Puglia will not be disappointed by the welcome and the open-air wonders that the city offers to travelers.

Ostuni Center

Ostuni Center

Ostuni Centro is nicknamed "La Terra" by its citizens and stands on the sides of a fairly steep hill over 20 meters high, which is crossed in a tortuous tangle of alleys, streets and stairs.

Ostuni Centro is the most human-sized part of the ancient village and is simply a pleasant place to visit and stroll, as it is absolutely forbidden to circulate on the streets with motor vehicles (except for exceptional services or supplies to the activities present).

In Ostuni Centro you find yourself immersed in a village of other times, rich in structures, works and views of such beauty as to arouse strong emotions.

Narrow and winding ancient streets, excellent cafes on the terraces and along the stone streets, restaurants with exceptional services, quaint craft shops with pottery, shoes, olive oil and much more will make your stay here.

It is possible to visit the enchanting historic center of Ostuni, if you are in a hurry, in a few hours walking up and down the hill, still managing to appreciate the hospitality and care of the citizens for their heritage and the wonders that the center offers. .

The best thing to do to fully appreciate what the city has to offer would be to stop for a few days in the surroundings and enjoy the different views of the city both day and night, in order to fully enjoy the beautiful things it has to offer. to offer.

The opportunities to stay in the historic center of Ostuni are not many, especially in the summer, but it is possible to find hospitality more easily in the farms, in the trulli and in the villas distributed in the countryside of the Itria Valley or near the sea.

Ostuni Center, Piazza Libertà

Ostuni Center, Piazza Libertà

Walking through the lower part of Ostuni Centro you will most likely pass by Piazza Libertà, the oldest central square in Ostuni.

In Piazza Libertà it is common practice to sit in one of the many cafes to enjoy aperitifs, surrounded by the incredible beauty of the square and watch the people stroll.

In the square there are the most important public buildings of the city, a baroque column 20 meters high from 1771 dedicated to San Oronzo, the patron saint of the city, and an open-air excavation overlooking parts of the ancient historic center.

Piazza Libertà, like all of Ostuni Centro, is exceptionally lively in summer as it is lined with restaurants, bars, ice cream parlors, taverns and many other quality services that offer refreshment and space to relax and taste local delicacies.

It is the beating heart of the city and it is a pleasure for visitors to come and discover it, stop for an aperitif and enjoy the view while having a chat or sipping an aperitif.

On one side is the Palazzo Comunale, formerly the seat of a convent, next to the church of San Francesco d'Assisi where you can enter for a visit.

The city center is made up of a dense and intricate network of streets, alleys, passages, arches and dead ends. Diving and walking through the narrow streets in the center is the best way to experience the historic center of Ostuni.

The main street is lined with bars and restaurants, alternating with boutiques and souvenir shops selling typical local products, such as olive oil and wines, and local works of art such as fine ceramics and wood carvings.

The only thing to pay attention to, especially in summer, is that many shops have a summer opening hours with an afternoon break that usually goes from lunchtime to late afternoon (from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm approximately) .

If you plan to enter a particular venue during those times, the most sensible thing to do is to call before you go. In any case, you will certainly find some alternatives to your needs.

If you plan to shop or organize a lunch or an afternoon aperitif, it is important to keep in mind that you may find it closed.

Ostuni center, the upper part

Ostuni center, the upper part

To get to the upper part of Ostuni Centro, above Piazza Libertà, you need to take an uphill walk or use a passage of one of the many gigs (the classic 3-wheeled Piaggio vehicles) until you get to the top where the ancient Cathedral is located. of Santa Maria.

While walking through the city center to reach the cathedral, located on top of the hill, you can enjoy the wonders of the morgo with its many particular views, its palaces, its churches and its breathtaking panoramic views.

Furthermore, it is very often allowed to visit the interior of the various churches, churches and historic buildings.

Among the things that you will absolutely notice, which you will be fascinated by, there are certainly the hundreds of pretty alleys.

We recommend a visit to one in particular of the alleys that stands out for its beauty and for the breathtaking view it offers to visitors, Vico Castello.

Cathedral of Santa Maria of Ostuni

The Cathedral of Santa Maria is located at the highest point of Ostuni.

The cathedral is a real artistic jewel built in the 15th century in a rare Gothic style for the region.

In fact if compared to the churches in the rest of Puglia which are mostly of Romanesque or Baroque style.

The central ornamental rose window, located in the center of the main facade, is very particular and is one of the largest in the world of this style.

At the center of the rose window stands the figure of Christ from which finely adorned columns radiate representing the hours of the day.

Arco Scoppa

In front of the cathedral, at the top of the city of Ostuni, is this ancient stone arch of fine workmanship that frames the avenue on one side and the cathedral on the other.

The Loggia, the name with which the building is called by the citizens, was inspired by the bridge of sighs in Venice when it was rebuilt in 1750 due to the precariousness of the previous building, equally beautiful but no longer viable due to its first wooden construction.

The arch is still used today as a link between the bishop's palace and the seminary, the two buildings next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria at the highest point of the city.

Things to do in Ostuni

The main things to do in Ostuni are:

  • Visit Ostuni Center
  • Enjoy Ostuni Beaches
  • Discover the Itria Valley
  • Spectacular sea
  • Uncontaminated Nature
  • Phenomenal wines and typical products
  • Wonderful views and views
  • Pure pleasure and relaxation

The Borgo di Ostuni, or Ostuni Centro, is a jewel to know and in which to relax and stroll through alleys, history and spectacular landscapes.

The city of Ostuni is very active in the evening especially in the summer. There is a lot of nightlife in Ostuni especially on weekends, with many people out for a walk and in the open air clubs between music and aperitifs.

Ostuni Mare is one of the reasons to visit Ostuni because, the only city in the whole Itria Valley, it boasts a beautiful sea and phenomenal beaches with protected nature reserves.

If you want to enjoy a unique view of Ostuni Mare then we advise you to climb to the top of the historic center of Ostuni center.

Going down from the Cathedral on top of Ostuni Centro, walking towards the sea, you will enjoy a unique perspective of Ostuni Mare.

The panoramic views of Ostuni Mare are characterized by white roads and breathtaking views of the plain of olive trees below that extends to the sea.

You can linger and admire the view between one of the many niches, alleys, terraces overlooking Ostuni Mare and the plain of olive trees.

Here you can stop to relax and enjoy the wonderful landscape with fields of olive trees and ancient farms that follow one another as far as the eye can see.

Ostuni is also easily connected to the airports: Bari Airport is 1 hour by car and Brindisi Airport is 30 minutes by car.

If you decide to take a trip to Ostuni you can really enjoy the whole holiday if you want, without wasting time in many hours, if not days, of traveling by land transport. In fact, Ostuni can be easily reached from all over Europe thanks to the two nearby airports, Bari airport and Brindisi airport.

Ostuni Beaches

The heart of Ostuni Beaches is a rich and dense Mediterranean scrub which extends for tens of kilometers in front of Ostuni with Nature Reserves and areas where circulation is prohibited by car or by boat.

Ostuni Beaches is one of the points of Puglia where it was decided to preserve the wild nature of the coast but where free access is allowed to bathers as long as they respect the limits set.

Beyond a few well-equipped beaches, with large guarded parking lots and high-level services, there are many beaches that can only be reached on foot as they are scattered within the Ostuni Beach Nature Reserve.

If you want to go to the Natural Reserve in Ostuni beaches, the car must be parked far from the beach, in public parking lots and take a walk, or use the paid public shuttles in the parking lots, to get closer to the sea.

How to get to Ostuni

How to get to By car

Ostuni can be easily reached by car, from the coast or from the inside it is well connected, but you must then leave the car in one of the parking areas on the edge of the city.

The circulation of cars in the center of Ostuni is forbidden to non-residents and you risk incurring a heavy fine if you do not leave your car in the parking areas outside the historic center.

How to get to Ostuni By train

If you travel by train to reach Ostuni you will realize that the city is well connected with other cities on the eastern coast of Puglia such as Brindisi, Polignano, Monopoli or Bari.
From Ostuni station you can reach the city center, which is just 2 km away, with an inexpensive shuttle bus service that takes tourists to the center in just 5 minutes.

How to get to Ostuni by plane

Ostuni can be reached from both Brindisi and Bari airports.

Ostuni is about 80 km from Bari airport and 36 km from Brindisi airport, so it can be reached from the airports very quickly by car, from 30 minutes to 1 hour at the most.

For visitors who intend to take a holiday in Ostuni arriving by plane we recommend renting a car or take advantage of the many transport services with driver available at the airports, in this way you can arrive in Ostuni in a very short time and at affordable prices.

If you do not want to drive yourself or do not want to use the shuttles at the airport then you can contact the facilities where you will be staying to ask if they themselves have a shuttle service to and from the airports: they often make a shuttle service themselves for their guests.