View of the White Town
Ostuni is an Italian town in the province of Brindisi, in Puglia. Also known as the White Town, due to its characteristic historic centre filled with whitewashed houses, it represents one of the idyllic high points of the Salento peninsula together with Taranto and Santa Maria di Leuca.
A famous tourist destination, it was awarded the Blue Flag and Legambiente’s five-sail rating in 2009 for the cleanliness of the coastal waters and quality of services offered. While the region of Puglia acknowledged the town as a " tourist location " in 2005.
Monuments and places of interest
The following churches can be found in Ostuni’s historic centre:
Located on the top of the highest hill, it was started in 1435 and completed between 1470 and 1495. It boasts a beautiful, characteristic, late Gothic facade , divided into three parts by pilasters. The central portal is topped by a tympanum formed of two ogive arches, while the two side portals feature two half-lunettes. The tympanum and lunettes boast beautiful, gothic coping, which stretches along the sides and around the transept, formed of jagged, trefoil arches on sculpted consoles. The facade comprises three elegant ogival portals, (the middle lunette comprises a relief depicting the Madonna and Child), each topped by a rosette, the middle one formed of 24 petals, worthy of mention both for its size and the intricate details. The church with its three-nave, Latin-cross layout, was renovated during the seventeenth-century with the inclusion of lush and extravagant features, a painted ceiling and beautiful Baroque chapels (near the entrance, column dating from the first building). The end of the left nave features a wooden altar dating from the 1734 with statues of the Saints Orontius, Blaise and Augustine. A richly-sculpted walnut choir (17th century) can be found in the apse. The right-hand nave contains the tomb of the bishop Filo (1720) and the last chapel features a Madonna and Child and Saints by Jacopo Palma the Younger. The archives contains over 200 manuscripts from 1137.
The old town is enclosed by the Aragonese walls, long sections of which are visible and reinforced by round turrets. The gate of St. Demetrius (15th century) opens eastwards while the other gate, Porta Nova (15th century) included in the town walls and still standing is found on the western side and flanked by a large round turret.
The old part of the town offers many picturesque features thanks to the outstanding conservation of its architectural characteristics and distinctive features. The following are some examples of former noble residences:
- The Baroque Palazzo Ducale Zevallos;
- Palazzo Siccoda (1575) located at Via Cattedrale 35;
- The seventeenth-century Episcopal Palace and the old Seminary, picturesquely linked by the so-called Scoppa arch, look out onto the square housing the Cathedral;
- The ruins of the castle, built in 1148 by Gottfried III, Count of Lecce and Ostuni, and demolished in 1559 to make way for the bishop’s residence can still be seen in Vico Castello.
At times, only the Baroque portals sculpted out of local soft stone and tastefully incorporated into the white walls can be noted:
- The portal of Palazzo Falgheri (16th century) at Via A. Giovine 27;
- The portals of Palazzo Ghionda-Pomes and Casa Molendino at Via F. Bax 5-7;
- The rococo portal of Palazzo Bisantizzi at Via A. Petrarolo 34-36.
The Montalbano dolmen (incorrectly called the Cisternino dolmen, and locally referred to as Tavola dei Paladini), can be found in the Contrada Piscomarano, in the vicinity of Montalbano di Fasano. It is large in size (height 145 cm; cover slab approx. 200 x 300 cm), unfortunately damaged in recent times when the dromos was destroyed.
The Archaeological and Nature Park of Santa Maria D'Agnano (that can be reached from the SS 16 Ostuni-Fasano) houses the grotto-sanctuary of importance for the discovery of the bones of Delia, a young pregnant woman dating from 25,000 years ago, currently housed in the museum. Remains of a Messapic settlement.
Torre San Leonardo, an anti-Saracen watch tower in Località Pilone.
Castello di Villanova stands near to the sea opening onto a small port. Villanova was founded in 1277 by Charles of Anjou in the place where, towards the end of the 12th century, Tancredi, Count of Lecce had built the town of Petrolla which soon disappeared due to incursions.
The area of Ostuni produces Aleatico di Puglia DOC, Ostuni Doc, Brindisi DOC, Puglia IGT.
Indigenous varieties of grapes can be found along the Appian Wine Trail which the town belongs to:
- Black Malvasia of Brindisi,
Il Villaggio di Babbo Natale
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