Ostuni, the white city of Apulia

Ostuni suddenly appears along the highway that runs parallel to the sea, like a white mirage. The “White City” lies on three hills.

narrow alleys between the houses
Ostuni, narrow alleys between the houses

Sunlight is reflected on the whitewashed houses with lime and dazzles the eyes. The lime was used since the Middle Ages to brighten the narrow alleys thanks to the light reflected on the walls of the houses and in the 17th century to prevent the spread of the plague.

Ostuni, the light reflected on the walls of the houses
Ostuni, the light reflected on the walls of the houses

Getting  lost in the labyrinthine alleys of the old town, called by the locals “la Terra“, and wandering among houses, palaces, craft shops, churches and squares, the Town Hall building, until arriving in front of the Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria dell ‘Assunzione, is almost a mystical experience.

Ostuni, the Cathedral
Ostuni, the Cathedral

Suddenly a glimpse from which you can gaze upon the green expanse of olive trees, that surround the Masserie, old fortified farms today become luxury hotels, and the blue line of the Adriatic Sea.  The coast of Ostuni, which extends for about 20km, is characterized by a series of long beaches called Marina di Ostuni and by Mediterranean vegetation.

Ostuni, the blue line of the Adriatic Sea
Ostuni, the blue line of the Adriatic Sea

Such is the dazzling beauty of this city, that many people from northern Europe came to live here, especially from Great Britain and from Germany. This phenomenon has been called “Salentoshire”, taking the term from “Chiantishire”. The region of Chianti in Tuscany was characterized by a similar phenomenon some years ago.

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