The White City

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*photogallery: Elena & Marco MW

OSTUNI is all white, made of stone and lime. And milk, someone wrote. Colouring its narrow up-and-down streets, there are fat plants and flowers on the little balconies, there are clothes hanging outside and chairs next the houses’ doorways where the grandparents of the village sit observing the world and say (in dialect) wise thoughts.


The white stone is everywhere in the Itria Valley: in the dry stone walls – among olive trees, vines and prickly pears – but also in the bells, farms and coastal towers, in the facades of churches and palaces in the local baroque style. In this land, the art of stone was soon united with lime, which is useful for the construction of buildings, but also for potable water cisterns, disinfecting, whitening and plastering interiors and exteriors of homes, and even save some food.

And so Ostuni was born, wearing of white three small barren hills of the Murgia, in the province of Brindisi, 8 km from the Adriatic coast of Salento. Protected by St. Horace – who watches over the “Ostunesi” from the top of the Column in the main square – the city is a candid view from afar and even more beautiful if you walk up to the top of the old town, where the wonderful Co-Cathedral (built between 1469-1495) boasts the largest rose window of Italy (and the second one in Europe, after the Church of Santa Maria del Pi in Barcelona). And from here you can see the green fields turn into blue sea and then sky.


THE WHITE CITY. It seems to be worldwide known with this definition since the journalist Ettore Della Giovanna, reporter for “Il Tempo Illustrato”, in August 1941 (during the war), wrote an article about Ostuni titled The most white town in the world“.

« Ostuni is the scenic city par excellence, every house is a belvedere, at each window there is a poet who looks at the plain below the olive trees that change colours at every wind, on each terrace at sunset a girl appears looking dreamy at the sea. The houses in Ostuni are white, of milk and lime, they are so white to hurt the eyes, walls, windows, doors, stairs, everything is so purely white, the roads, the dust is of plaster, perhaps even the plants and the air are white. Everything is white to absurdity […] You go to Ostuni to understand what it means to stay out of the sun, to stop dreaming of novels and of further travel, here is the charm of all the South Seas cities, here is the equator at hand. »



1) Lose yourself, walk through the streets following the details that attract your curiosity, and ask some questions to the “grandparents” of the place who you’ll find in front of their houses, sitting along the white walls of the street or standing in the doorway: you’ll learn at least a popular saying or knowledge that only they can tell.

2) Go to “Al Solito Posto“: a cozy restaurant with a fresh garden where you can dine in peace (away from the flocks of tourists) and fill yourself with many good things. Address, near the historic centre: Via Cesare Braico, 37 ad Ostuni (BR).


* NOTE about the Photo Gallery: sorry for the redundancy of the smile of CCT (it usually shows its selfies only on social media) but on this background… our white sticker looks too nice!

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