Italy
Ostuni

Here you’ll find travel reports about Ostuni. Discover travel destinations in Italy of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

23 travelers at this place:

  • Day7

    Ostuni, Città Bianca

    June 18 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Der Beiname Ostunis lautet die “Weiße Stadt“. Seit dem 14. Jahrhundert werden die Häuser laut Reiseführer weiß gekalkt, sodass die Stadt bereits aus der Ferne weiß strahlt.
    Die Innenstadt erstreckt sich über drei Hügel und ist von einem Gewirr hübscher, enger Gässchen mit Souvenirshops und Restaurants sowie zahlreichen Treppen durchzogen.Read more

  • Day224

    The Trulli and Ostuni, the 'white city'

    February 5, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Today we passed by Castel Del Monte, an interestingly designed octagonal castle built back in the 13th century by Frederick II. The land changed from flat expanses that lent itself to huge agricultural fields, through to gently rolling hills on a rocky red soil. Dry stone walls partitioned the area into small plots which were tended by single people by hand, weeding between the newly planted greens, spraying the vines or using a handsaw to prune olive trees.

    The distinctive conical stone roofs of the Trulli appeared frequently and the further south we drove the more we found had been modernised, their individual stones plastered over and whitewashed. There were even some new ones being built!

    Thw town of Ostuni bills itself as the'white city' and it certainly made an impression as we rounded a corner and saw its lime washed buildings sitting on the crest of the hill. We pulled into a clean gravel car park under the shade of pines (no evidence of Processional Pine Caterpillars on these ones!). A clamorous cacophony of chirping came from the trees and shrubs around and we decided to stay the night. There was a charge for the parking but after so many free stopovers we were happy to pay, especially as van facilities were provided.

    After lunch we went for an amble around the stunning old town. There were several other tourists there, including an English foursome - the place was set up for a lot of incomers. Today however, the streets were quiet and because of the winding cobbled lanes, connected via quaint courtyards and flights of steps (whitewashed of course), we often found ourselves with no one else around. There was a Moroccan influence, gleaming white walls were everywhere you looked and the jewellery, clothing and crockery on sale stood out against them with warm yellows, blues, oranges and reds. Making decisions about where to explore next at every junction, we often discovered ourselves to be wandering up the same lane twice without having realised, but that was part of the joy of the place. Another thing we came across was several instillations by #OstuniGreenRiot who had planted greenery in and around the town. There were vintage suitcases containing cacti, a string of small spherical planters hanging in an alleyway (together with a sign offering free kisses!) as well as other guerilla gardening projects using pallets, window boxes and old tree branches. It brought to mind our local Transition group back in Stourbridge.

    The temperature had risen to 16°C and we were dressed comfortably in a couple of layers, in contrast to the Italians who were still bundled up in puffa jackets, hats and scarves (coupled with the obligatory cool sunglasses!) There was a warm wind and the next morning it brought very heavy rain, sleet and thunder. We were glad we'd chosen the previous day to explore!
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  • Day15

    Ostuni, The White City

    April 15 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    On our way from Gallipoli to Alberobello, we stopped off for a visit to Ostuni, a picturesque hillside town that is known as Città Bianca, The White City. The majority of the buildings in the old town are constructed of limestone, a readily available commodity in the region, whose white colour served not only to keep the homes cool in the summer, it provided lime, the mineral that acted as an effective disinfectant in ancient times of epidemic. In fact, it is believed the city was largely spared from the plague in the 17th century because of the inhabitants’ use of lime.
    From the highway one can see Ostuni gleaming in the sunshine from several kilometers away, quite a spectacular sight.
    The area was first inhabited by Neanderthals some 40,000 years ago and the remains of a pregnant woman, who died 25,000 years ago, were found in one of the nearby caves. Quite a history.
    Of course, like most of this part of Italy, the city was built, conquered, destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries. Messapians, Greeks, Romans and Normans all held the city at some point in history.
    We wandered through the old town, admiring the 13th century cathedral, the palaces and some of the ruins of the ancient fortifications.
    We were surprised to find the city to be teeming with tourists, particularly this early in the season.
    When we arrived in Ostuni, I parked the car in the first open spot I saw. Park first, ask questions later. When we got out to read the signs to see if we could legally park in that spot, we were both puzzled by the posted pictograms. As we stood on the corner debating what to do, we were approached by an American couple, who have also been touring around Italy. The woman inquired as to our nationality and then went on a rant about how many tourists are already in the more popular cities further north. She claimed Rome is now almost unrecognizable with all the African, Syrian, Iranian and Chinese immigrants roaming the streets. Brenda politely agreed with her that the mainland Chinese tourists are quite unpleasant and said she does not want to be mistaken for one. The woman said, “I understand. Maybe you should have some surgery done to change your eyes or something”. Hmm….I wonder who she voted for.
    By the time afternoon rolled around, we were getting a little hungry, but couldn’t find anything open to meet our dietary requirements. OK, there were a few, but the prices they were charging in the old town were ludicrous. Sorry, I can’t bring myself to pay €10.00 for a plate of pureed fava beans, even if it is a regional specialty. We made our way out of the old city and eventually came to a Tavola Calda that was filled with locals having lunch. Food is served cafeteria style and we ate delicious tomato and artichoke salads, pickled beets, orrechiette pasta and I had a decadent slice of tiramisu for dessert.
    With very happy bellies, we jumped into La Grande Orange and made our way to our next destination, Alberobello.
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  • Day59

    We always need food

    January 10, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Sadly, our stay in magical marvellous Matera came to an end. We packed up our bags and hyped ourselves up for the tour we were absolutely to begin. Alessandro, a tour guide and as we later discovered, a wine and olive oil sommelier was taking us to Ostuni. On the way, we were to stop at Martina Franco and Alberobello.

    The Awesome Foursomes don’t go anywhere with anyone unless food was involved. Alessandro knew us well and after a 10 minute drive, he stopped us at a bakery to eat some typical Matera bread and focaccia. We stocked up on 3 different types of focaccia which unfortunately was to be saved for Ostuni’s meals. No eating. Arriving in Martina Franco, we were amazed at how our guide was able to navigate the small alley ways to show us the beautiful town. We toured a palace and was described daily life in the ancient (pronounced ain-s-ient) times. Soon we were lead out of the town, back to the car and ready for or next stop.

    Remember, we need food. So, our next stop was a cheese tasting. Our tour guide lead us passed the cheese shop and getting anxious, thinking we need to walk more for our food, we were lead through a beaded curtain and were greeted by 6 muscled men making the cheese. They were working hard and fast making buffalo mozzarella. Our tour guide explained to us that the liquid they are dishing the cheese out of is 65C and that’s when we discovered that the men’s hands were bright pink and they had to dip it in cold water every few minutes not seconds to stop it from scalding. Then they started making another cheese that was half ricotta half cream cheese. The blocks of this cheese that one man was scooping out of a 1m deep trough was 3kg and he lifted it like it was a marshmallow. Now, I appreciate cheese even more and try very hard no to think of all the sweat that may be in my cheese. Yuck!! We then were finally able to taste the various cheeses and were in love. We bought 3 different cheeses which were again, to be kept for Ostuni.

    Alberobello is a town filled with trulli. Trulli are what look like tepees made out of stones. I will let the photos describe. Words can’t. They were phenomenal. Perfectly rounded and all the same so the town looks almost identical in every direction yet each corner has something different. From, houses owned by old Nona’s to restaurants and souvenir shops. Knowing us well, Alessandro lead us into a pastry shop known for their typical pastry cakes. So of course, we had to get some and these, we could eat immediately. Yay!

    Our next stop was the olive oil farm where we going to find out how olive oil was made . This time, in an industrial way rather than a small farm production like Francesco and his families in Assisi. We were allowed to taste the olive oil. More food.
    Crates containing 350kg of olives lined the factory and they looked yummy. I wanted to jump right in and start eating them all but I contained by urge and stayed out of the crate. We were explained how olive oil was made manually which takes 3-4 hours and mechanically which took 45 minutes. The mechanical machine was going full steam ahead and to see the process was amazing. From whole olives being washed to mushy olives looked like tapenade to curd looking oil to pure olive oil. It was quite amazing to see the process. We tasted the olive oils (all 6 types) and were amazed at how olive oil can taste so different depending on whether it is organic or not and manually or mechanically made. Quite frankly, I could taste the difference between organic or not but manually made olive oil tasted so much better. Now average mini market bought olive oil is not nice. We are so spoilt in Italy with food.

    Later arriving in Ostuni, we were taken to our accomodation which is 3.5 stories. Bedrooms on the ground floor and a bathroom (all very open plan), a bathroom as you ascend the stairs, a kitchen, dining and living area on the next level and the 4th level has a beautiful terrace.

    We were so tired, we made our way to dinner then collapsed in our super comfy bed ready for our exploration the next morning.

    I thought after the busy day we had yesterday full of cheese and olive oil tastings . We would be up at mid day.

    First day in ostuni we all must have been excited to explore . We where all up by 8am . We had a very yummy breakfast of foccasies, cheese and bread. We all scoffed down our breakfast and decided to go and visit the only 2 sites listed in kai's Kindle. The cathedral which was amazing inside with beautiful facades. We where very fortunate to have the sun shine through the windows so we could see the interior of the cathedral. The second site was an archeological museum it was a 5 euro entrance fee so we gave it a miss.

    We then went for a walk to find dudo's coffee. A nice lady in a shop recommended a coffee place up the street. Which serves appertivos so look forward to writing about it in our next post.

    After a slow stroll in the park it started to bucket down with rain. In a panic Kai got the umbrella out and the camera went back in the case.

    We where very fortunate to have some left over pasta , garlic and a tin of tomatoes and cheese from our cheese tasting shop yesterday to have for lunch. Otherwise we might have just starved. As we figured out ostuni is like a ghost town nothing was open except a few sandwich shops and coffee shops.

    Now we are all sitting in our apartment catching up with reality Facebook, emails and what's app.
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  • Day61

    Ostuni

    January 12, 2018 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 8 °C

    Ostuni

    Ostuni is a tiny white hamlet that sits atop a hill in Puglia (or Apulia), guarding the region at the heel of Italy. It is so small that it takes only 10 minutes to stroll from one end of town to the other, and 30 minutes to walk the circumference with stops for photos and look into the few shops that may be open. Indeed, being off season, the town was very quiet and very few places were open. There was such a slow rhythm to everything, it seemed like the town just went to sleep, hibernating and waiting for Easter when the tourist season would begin. It was nice to have the narrow windy streets and scenic lookouts to ourselves, even if it meant that we were stared at by the few old men or old ladies around.

    We explored the town most thoroughly on our first morning, before the rain came in the afternoon. Not having found anything interesting open for lunch, we cooked at the apartment, and were just about to settle for a restful quiet afternoon when Kai slipped on a puddle in the lounge. There was a leak! As the rain intensified, so did the number of leaks. Kai found more buckets, and we used then with all the pots and pans. Grace kept in contact with the apartment owner who received a progress report about the increasing number of leaks and their location. He was most apologetic and did not even mind that Grace melted his coffee maker. A brand new one with fresh coffee beans was delivered the next morning. Fortunately, the rain stopped by the evening and before the ceiling fell.

    The sun shone when we woke the second morning. We explored the town again in the morning, and failing to find any corner or alley we have not been down at least twice, we decided to go to the beach. The lady at the tourist information was most helpful. She told us that there was only one bus in Ostuni, and only one bus stop. The microbus (honestly, the tiny bus is called a microbus) leaves Ostuni for the beach at 1.15pm and picks up from the beach at 4.50pm.

    We decided to have lunch at the local cafe/newsagent/restaurant/bar. The town is so tiny that one little place served all those functions. We discovered it had great coffee and simple but tasty homemade pastas and sandwiches. When the owner heard that we had no car, he shook his head. Then he leant that we were going to the beach, and he exclaimed, " Mama Mia!" with his five fingertips pressed together and waving at us. Different regions of Italy have totally different cultures, different foods, different pastas, different dialects and accents. But, they all exclaim "Mama Mia!" in the same way, with the same gesture of five fingertips pressed together, waving in exactly the same way. Even the little boy of about 7 exclaimed it, with the appropriate gesture, when the soccer ball he kicked just missed Kai's head.

    We went to the beach armed with Kindle, books and a pack of cards to occupy ourselves with. Before we got off the microbus, the driver gesticulated for us to wait. He got his bus timetable out and circled 4.50pm, the time for us to catch the bus back to Ostuni. Guess he did not want us to miss the only bus back.

    We walked along the beach from one bay to the next. It was a mixture of sandy bays, rocky bays, and bays of dried corals. One thing that was prevalent was litter and garbage. It was sad to see a coastline robbed of its beauty by sheer laziness and care-lessness. Apartments and houses of various sizes lined the beaches, and all were shut and boarded up. Collectively, they formed a ghost town with stay cats that eyed us suspiciously. Needless to say, the beach was deserted. There were 2 men casting their fishing lines into the waves, and a few local tourists who stayed no more than 5 minutes to take a few photos before driving away. We walked along the bays, we walked in ghost town, admired the bigger and more fancy houses that fronted the beach, and explored the rock pools. Time flew by. Only Kindle emerged from the bag, but it was not read. When we went for apertivo, the cafe owner seemed relived to see us back from the beach. He gave us some pizza "free, free" as though to celebrate our return.

    We could have stayed in Ostuni for many more days, but it was time to leave for Naples after 3 nights.
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  • Day182

    Street view

    April 27 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    The mask with long horns, open mouth and sticking his tongue out is apotropian, (from the Greek word meaning a lucky charm against evil.) Such a horrible expression is sure to repel evil spirits.
    The image of "nasocchio" recalls the elf of Nordic legends, transformed by the Pugliese and renamed "Augurellu", Monachellu, Nasu-e-occhiu. He is the capricious spirit who amuses himself by creating small domestic disturbances such as tossing small pebbles around the house or messing up your clothes. He doesn't tolerate a challenge or allow himself to be seen. Although audacious, indiscrete and teasing, he can also be loving towards the poor and those of good heart. With proper respect he brings wealth, and good fortune to the household.
    According to ancient lore he prefers places with 7 hearths and 7 families to please. This addition to the Norse myth can be traced to the Romans, who believed that 7 hearths and 7 families pleased Lare (the hearth god,) who then protected the household from evil and brought good fortune.
    If you want to buy one, or if you want to buy a fridge magnet or perhaps a straw boater there are many opportunities along the main street leading up the hill. Other than that there is not a lot - even the cathedral is a bit ho-hum; they did not even put glass in what might have been a well-executed Rose window.
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  • Day182

    Remembering Delia

    April 27 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    I visited Ostuni for the chance to meet Delia; turned out to be quite a moving experience.
    She was a girl of about 20 who died in an advance state of pregnancy about 28000 years ago according to the consensus of various scientific disciplines. She was buried on her side in a carefully excavated stone trench in a grotto in the valley below.
    She had been adorned with bracelets on her wrists, (made from shells of sea snails, whelks, cowrie, and the canine of a deer,) and an intricate skullcap of over 600 shells sewn together and painted with red ochre, (similar to the one carved onto the slightly older Venus of Willendorf.) At her head and feet small statues representing female goddesses were placed as well as offerings of Aurochs and horses.
    She was laid down on her side with with one hand under her head and the other on her tummy and there she rested until late last century when the cave was excavated and her remains exhumed. Her bones and those of her unborn infant are laid out in the convent / museum together with a plaster cast showing how she was found.
    The staff have presented a great deal of background information about those cold times between two ice ages which gives the visitor an appreciation of the life Delia must have led and which makes it all very poignant. It could have been yesterday.
    ========================
    One of the nun's cells has been left as it would have been when inhabited, albeit without furniture.
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  • Day182

    New town

    April 27 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Neanderthal hunters during the palaeolithic period (50.000-40.000 years ago made their homes in the grottoes in the area. Eventually a town was built on this hill but the Greeks completely rebuilt it as a new city "Astu-neon", now known as Ostuni.
    Strangely reminiscent of the Pueblos Blancos in Andalusia -infact Isabella D'Aragona is credited with bringing culture and art to the town - Ostuni is a major tourist destination though I can't imagine why.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Ostuni, Остуни

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