Beautiful Ostuni: A Feast for the Eyes

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.

Panoramic view of Ostuni from Via Panoramica

Panoramic view of Ostuni from Via Panoramica

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.

At the Scoppa Arch in Ostuni, Italy

At the Scoppa Arch on a windy day in Ostuni

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.

Ceiling of Ostuni Cathedral in Ostuni in the Puglia region of Italy

Gorgeous paintings on the ceiling of Cathedral of Santa Maria dell’Assunzione

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.

Lovely sights upon every turn in Ostuni, Italy

Lovely sights upon every turn

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.

Views to the Adriatic through the flora of a neighborhood in Ostuni

Views to the sea through the flora

A stroll through the "White City", Ostuni, Italy

Floral touches among the white buildings of Ostuni

One of the narrow alleys winding through Ostuni, Italy

One of the narrow alleys with a view of the sea

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?

A woman gazes over the countryside to the sea while taking a break from laundry work in Ostuni, Italy

A woman gazes over the countryside to the sea

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.

Historic center of Ostuni on a rainy night

Wet streets reflect the lights

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.

Lovely passageway leading to our dinner spot in Ostuni

Lovely passageway leading to L’Arco dei Sapori

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.

Mr. TWS and our host Elena on our night stroll in Ostuni, Italy

Mr. TWS and our host Elena on our night stroll through the city center after dinner

All's quiet late night in the city -- Ostuni, Italy

All was quiet late night in the city as we walked back to the car park

Up a few steps to Osteria Monacelle for dinner in Ostuni, Italy

Up a few steps to Osteria Monacelle for dinner

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.

Meeting up with photographer Federica Donadi in the historic center

Meeting up with photographer Federica Donadi in Ostuni

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.

Through the archway, I entered another hidden neighborhood in Ostuni, Italy

Under the archway and over the cobblestones into another intriguing Ostuni neighborhood

It was tempting to walk down every staircase into every little neighborhood. Through the archway shown above, we entered another hidden neighborhood.

Up the stairs to another series of lovely homes in Ostuni, Italy

Prickly pear cactus adorn stairway in Ostuni

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 color touches to the neighborhood in Ostuni, Italy

Touches of color in the White City

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.

Espresso time at Caffè Centrale on Piazza della Libertà in Ostuni, Italy

Espresso time at Caffè Centrale on Piazza della Libertà

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.

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3 thoughts on “Beautiful Ostuni: A Feast for the Eyes

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