There is much about the Puglia region of Italy to engage the senses. In the beautiful hilltop city of Ostuni, we indulged in stunning and compelling sights at almost every turn. Whitewashed buildings, winding staircases, narrow alleys, and vistas of the sea created many photo opportunities for us. I’d like to share some of our pictures from our recent trip there in November to give you a visual sense of the city as we saw it.
Selected photos of Ostuni, Puglia’s “White City”
One of the most picturesque spots in the city center is the Scoppa Arch connecting Palazzo Vescovile and an old seminary.
Nearby the arch on the hilltop is Ostuni’s crowning jewel, Cathedral of Santa Maria dell’Assunzione. Inside the 15th-century cathedral, we feasted our eyes on its intricate architectural design and gorgeous ceiling paintings depicting the life of Christ.
There are lovely sights of old world beauty to see everywhere. I loved arched doorways, floral touches, and the winding staircase in the alley shown below.
Views of the Adriatic Sea to the east can be seen from vantage points of the city center’s perimeter. In the photo below, I was admiring the beauty of the sea from the top of a staircase leading into one of Ostuni’s secluded neighborhoods.
Wouldn’t you like to knock on one of these doors in the photo above, take a look inside, and meet the people who live there?
As we turned from an alley, we were taken by the sight of an Ostuni woman gazing over the countryside to the sea while her laundry hung nearby. She briefly glanced at us hearing our approach, and then she quickly turned back to her thoughts and the sea.
Since this was November in the off-season, it felt at times that we had the city to ourselves as we strolled the lanes on a rainy evening. When we visited Ostuni in the summer a few years ago, these streets shown above and below were filled with people enjoying one of the region’s many summertime festivals.
On the first night of our visit, we made our way down this lovely passageway leading to our dinner spot, L’Arco dei Sapori where regional, homemade pastas are a specialty.
A few nights later, we had dinner at another restaurant that had been recommended to us by locals, Osteria Monacelle. We thoroughly enjoyed both the ambiance and the delicious pasta of this small and busy place.
On this sunny morning, our friend, professional photographer Federica Donadi, was also capturing scenes of beauty and daily life in Ostuni for our EsteVillas Elena Retreats host.
It was tempting to walk down every staircase into every little neighborhood. Through the archway shown above, we entered another hidden neighborhood.
I took note of how common it was to see cacti, particularly prickly pears, in Puglia reminding me of our home in the Arizona desert. In the photo above, stairs lead to another section of lovely homes.
Doors and shutters add colorful touches to the whitewashed homes of Ostuni. It’s not surprising the color seems especially prominent when so much of the city is painted in white.
Caffè Tip: For an espresso and pastry during your walk around Ostuni, stop at Caffè Centrale on Piazza della Libertà. From there, you can access the streets leading to the locations in the photos.
Getting there tip: The nearest airport is in Brindisi about 30 miles away with airlines operating flights to and from other European cities. However, we arrived in Puglia by train from Rome, getting off in Bari to meet our host and pick up our rental car. It was about an hour’s drive from Bari to Ostuni. Train service continues from Bari to Ostuni’s station if that works better for your itinerary and transportation needs.
Driving tip: I recommend having a car to get around and see as much of Puglia as possible. However, driving in historic centers like Ostuni’s can be challenging and parking is limited, so rent a small car and try to find parking in a lot (or at metered parking) outside the center or off of main streets in town. You don’t want to unintentionally find yourself heading up a narrow lane in a pedestrian zone!
Puglia touring tip: Ostuni is a nice location for exploring much of the Puglia region as well as Matera in neighboring Basilicata. We’ve written about some of the highlights to see and do in the Puglia region in previous posts, including Puglia: A Region for All Seasons and A Secret Revealed: Puglia, Ti Amo, and there will be more to come.