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Ostuni is located in the Puglia region of Italy, commonly known as the heel of the boot. The hilltop town of just over 30,000 people is well worth visiting, thanks to the beautiful scenery on all sides. The view of the city from a distance is breathtaking; the white-washed homes cap the hilltop, juxtaposed with the jagged skyline of domes and towers. Views of the surrounding countryside are astounding, particularly to the east, where the cliffs and beaches of the Adriatic coastline can be clearly seen.
Ostuni is a 40-minute drive north of Brindisi, also reachable by train. If you are driving into the city, I highly recommend taking the coastal route, as the seaside is peppered with stunning sea caves and picturesque beaches. Further, you’ll get to see the intriguing coastal towers built under the government of Bona Sforzia in the 16th century. The towers were built as a military defense to warn of approaching enemy navies. The towers communicated by signal fires, so you can always see one tower from another, and they stretch along the coast for hundreds of miles.
Leaving the coast, it is a short drive through a countryside dotted with massive, ancient olive trees. Puglia produces two-thirds of all the olive oil in Italy, and some of the trees are nearly 1,000 years old. Surrounded by walls that protect it from the wind, the bustling town is full of restaurants, shops selling local foods and crafts, and cafes. Strolling through the streets and down tiny, twisting alleys is an activity in itself. Ostuni is known as “the White Town” because all of its buildings are painted white, and there is no end to the beautiful architecture. Pause to take in the stunning view from the top of Corso Vittorio Emmanuele. If the ocean wind is too strong, you can take refuge in the archeological museum or in the duomo.
For dinner, my girlfriend and I ate at a pizzeria that is built right into the side of the hill. The roof of the dining room is made of rock, and the experience made us feel as though we were eating in a cave—a finely decorated cave that flowed with good food and plentiful wine.
Most of the year, its natural beauty makes Ostuni a place to indulge in quiet walks through olive groves or along beaches, and the architectural beauty likewise promotes quiet reflection. During the summer months, however, Ostuni becomes a popular location for Italian and German tourists. Buses run frequently to and from the nearby beaches, and Ostuni transforms from a gentle place of nature and solitude into a thriving town filled with parties and revelry.
Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com