The Trulli and Ostuni, the 'white city'February 5, 2017 in Italy
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!Read more