The white city of Ostuni truly shines from the top of the hill, surrounded by the olive trees and the green landscape, as you drive towards the city. This picturesque place is a place to relax and wander around after the crowded but beautiful city of Bari. We would love to take you on our trip to this wonderful place and give you a few handy tips for visiting Ostuni.
We reached Ostuni by train and took a small bus to get to the city at the top of the hill. A necessity because it was around 35C° degrees and sunny so for once we decided not to take the 30-minute walk up the hill carrying our luggage. We stayed in a local air-bnb guest house, a small white apartment with all the basics you gonna need. It even had an old water well inside the house that was renovated and beautifully lighted to show the depth of the well.
We anyway feel that a stay in a local guest house gives your trip so much more value as you will be surrounded by local residents and it really feels like you own a little house in this wonderful place for a few days. The hostess welcomed us with a bottle of local red wine; Negroamaro. A perfect way to start our next part of the trip.
Ostuni is located around 8 km from the Adriatic coast and is a small city. During summer the city will triple its inhabitants as it is one of the major touristic towns in the area of Puglia. As the city is built on a hill you will get some exercise and feel that burning sensation in your legs as you wander around the old city (if you will give it a good go of course). Ostuni is a good option for a few days visit as the city has many hidden corners and places to discover.
The best thing to do in Ostuni is just wandering around and lets yourself guide you through the labyrinth of streets, corners and stairs. The narrow white streets and buildings are a treat to walk around and discover. The maze of alleys and squares all painted in bright white gives you a feeling of walking around in some kind of an illusion.
Once you reached the top and find your way to the ice cream bar you feel like you conquered the great hill. There are many shops and restaurants all around the city and many sunset bars where you can enjoy a cocktail are at the top of the hill. We loved walking around the old centre discovering new streets and corners every day.
The last day we decided to take a look in the new part of Ostuni. This part has more Pugliese style building combined with flats and new infrastructure. After wandering around a bit we stumbled upon a local festivity. We were invited to take a look and joined the crowd that had come together in the playing fields of the local soccer club. We had no idea what the occasion was but some volunteers explained in Italian that it had something to do with Santa Maria and a helicopter as she kept making helicopter noises and swirling around her arms. It had to be something special for them because it looks like everybody in the area was gathered around. Young and old, the mayor, priests and nuns, the local sports teams and fire brigade who stood ready by the side of the field.
We love it if you can join a local tradition and we enjoyed watching the passion of these people once the helicopter arrived with a statue of Santa Maria. The crowd sang their songs loudly and start welcoming the Santa Maria and guiding her to the local chapel.
Ostuni is a perfect place for a small trip or as a home base to discover the Puglia area as you are surrounded by many other interesting and beautiful cities.
Tips for Ostuni
- Let the maze of alleys guide you around the city and go on your own adventure around the white city.
- If you are lucky you can spot an Italian wedding. Italians are still very traditional, especially in the south. Of course with the approval of the family, you could take a look in the church during the ceremony and be a part of this family tradition like we did.
- Take a 10min train trip to ‘Polignano a mare’. A beautiful place built on stunning cliffs. It even has a restaurant inside one of the caves.
- Go for a craft beer in the beer bar “La Gilda” for a real Italian craft beer and a snack.
- Take one of the electrical tuk-tuks that drive through Ostuni to see the city and not have strained muscles the day after.
Our restaurant recommendations
- We loved one of the restaurants in the middle of the old centre. A little hard to find, but once you get around one of the corners and see the charming square where this restaurant is located you hit the jackpot. “Il Posto Affianco e Il Pozzo dei Desideri” that has the most amazing pizzas. The real Napolitana pizza that is a little wetter in the middle because of the amount of delicious tomato sauce and the pizza dough has a perfect fluffy texture. We accompanied the pizzas by a gracious salade which nearly didn’t fit on our table.
- We loved the food at the “Il Bellavista” restaurant at the top of the hill looking over the bay of Ostuni. The view alone will get you convinced to make a reservation for the evening.
- The pasta of Ristorante Casa San Giacomo “tracce e origini” is the best and hand made by nonna. This lady at old age has her own working station in the restaurant and she personally asks every customer if they enjoyed their meal. The restaurant also has an excellent choice of cured meat so if you have some room left after three courses, get yourself a juicy steak or rib-eye.
We hope you enjoyed reading about Ostuni and we inspired you to travel there yourself someday. We love to hear from you in the comments below.
See you next time at the final stop of our Puglia trip at the coast city Otranto.
Missed one of our blogs about Puglia? Check them out here.