Guide to Ostuni, Puglia – Italy’s “White City”

Guide to Ostuni, Puglia – Italy’s “White City”

Guide to Ostuni Puglia

Oh, Ostuni! I left a little bit of my heart in this “white city” of Puglia, Italy, set atop a hill, shimmering as you approach it.

Just 8 km from, and overlooking, the Adriatic Sea, this fortress town oozes history and white-washed charm. If you were suddenly transplanted here without being told where you were, you might just think you were in Greece. The white is so white, the pops of color all the more brighter because of it. In fact, at one point, the town was Greek, with the name deriving from the Greek word Astu neon, which means “new town”, when the Greeks had overtaken and re-built it.

Walking through the streets of Ostuni Puglia

The city eventually became part of the county of Lecce (you can read my post on the city of Lecce here), and is very easy to get to from Lecce via train. We happened to stay at a Masseria (working farm) outside of Ostuni and visited by way of car. The Ostuni region is known for its masserias, so it’s well worth a look into if you’re visiting the area. The farmland, olive groves, lemon trees, and florals make it a beautiful area to explore, as well as producing excellent farm to table food.

The white streets of Ostuni Puglia

However, one may prefer to stay right in town at one of its hotels or apartments, which I would have equally enjoyed as well. For Ostuni is a rambling mish-mash of streets, a maze of sorts, just waiting to be discovered and get lost in. It’s a town for adventurers, those who like to seek out the next corner, the next pocket, the next little alley way. There’s no need to attempt a map, just walk and wander and see what you find.

What to do in Ostuni Puglia

Ostuni is a spider web of streets, and it’s beautiful. Sparkly white cobbled lanes lead into precious restaurants. Pathways wind in and around blue-windowed homes. Stairs lead up to little inlets overlooking the sea; to piazzas with vistas; to botanical-ladened homes with the wash drying atop. It’s impossible to know what each turn will bring, and every time it’s a well-earned surprise.

Street life in Ostuni Puglia

Adorable courtyard to someone's home in Ostuni Italy

Blue staircase in Ostuni

The best thing you can do is just walk around Ostuni. Up, down, and around, there are little gems awaiting you everywhere. “Old Town” is the historical part of town, and where the mesh of white-washed buildings and weaving streets can be found. The Ostuni Cathedral is a gorgeous building in the heart of the old town, or centro storico, and the surrounding piazza is a pleasant area to take a café break. The café right next to the cathedral offers delicious baked goods and gelato.

Ostuni piazza and Bishops Palace

The staircases of Ostuni Puglia

Green door in Ostuni Puglia Italy

There are some really lovely restaurants in and throughout Ostuni with the prettiest floral decorations in front, charming entry-ways with tunnels of roses, vintage bicycles, and detailed touches. Some restaurants almost look like homes, until you see the sign and realize it’s not another impossibly quaint home, but a café waiting to be enjoyed and relaxed in.

Adorable restaurant in Ostuni Italy!

Perfect restaurants entryway with the bike in front in Ostuni Italy

Walking the streets of Ostuni Puglia

As you make your way around and down the streets of Ostuni, with snippets of the Adriatic here and there, you will eventually come to the city walls as you get closer to the blue sea. Ostuni is a fortress town, after all, and when you see the large, imposing walls you will be all too reminded of a history passed. You can just picture this picture-perfect town as a medieval fort, far different from its picturesque days of present.

The fortress walls of Ostuni Puglia

View of the Adriatic Sea from Ostuni Puglia

Ostuni is located in a convenient part of Puglia, close to the ocean for beach day trips, as well as many of the other popular towns to visit, including Lecce, Alberobello, and another impossibly beautiful white-washed town, Locorotondo. Another white gem!

I highly recommend a visit to Ostuni. It’s small enough to be explored on a day trip, yet beautiful enough to be wallowed in on a weekend. This is not a place to be rushed, as you want to enjoy every small street, every crevice and every corner that leads to another courtyard, flower-lined alley, or scenic piazza.

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Ostuni Puglia city guide

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18 Comments

  1. Rhonda Albom
    September 19, 2019 / 6:27 am

    I like the meandering streets. They remind me of some walled cities I’ve been to in Spain. The white walls look quite formidable.

    • September 26, 2019 / 9:53 pm

      Aspects of it do remind me of Spain!

  2. September 19, 2019 / 9:19 am

    Ooh I really need to go here, Corey! It looks so pretty and I agree that it looks a bit like Greece. I also love the fact that it doesn’t look all that touristy either. I think I’d like to stay here for a few days and just soak in the atmosphere. #farawayfiles

    • September 26, 2019 / 9:54 pm

      In the summer it can get very touristy, but since I was there in April it wasn’t at all and the perfect time to go.

  3. September 19, 2019 / 12:33 pm

    Italy comes up trumps again! It looks wonderful, some great pics. Good advice to just follow your nose and wander. Another region that I would like to visit. Wilbur #farawayfiles

  4. September 19, 2019 / 1:15 pm

    Ostuni looks like a fun town to wander around in. #farawayfiles

  5. September 19, 2019 / 4:19 pm

    We discovered Puglia this summer and felt in love instantly! It was also about the time as Italian friends raved about for over 15 years, ok we’ve been slow on this one 😉 We spent a week but we preferred countryside, maserias and nature reserves so we have to get back for this white city! Love your pics and stories about wanderings on cobbled streets!

    • September 26, 2019 / 9:56 pm

      I fell in love with Puglia too, and same here, it took me a while to discover it!

  6. September 20, 2019 / 3:03 am

    My husband and I were just looking at going there next month for our anniversary but we opted for France. I’m dying to visit not just Ostuni, but all of the region of Puglia! Seems like every little town there is picture perfect!! Pinned! #FarawayFiles

    • September 26, 2019 / 9:56 pm

      Meanwhile France is so high on my list right now. I’ve been a few times before, but not in years. Have a great time!

  7. September 21, 2019 / 4:42 am

    I would have liked walking around here as well, and no one around – the best 🙂 #farawayfiles

    • September 26, 2019 / 9:57 pm

      April was the best time to go!

  8. September 22, 2019 / 11:27 pm

    I would *love* to explore this beautiful little town! I’ve been hearing so much about Puglia lately, and it looks like such a great place to visitl! #farawayfiles

    • September 26, 2019 / 9:58 pm

      Puglia seems to be all the rage right now, glad I went before it explodes!

  9. October 2, 2019 / 6:48 am

    Driving through the beautiful Valle d’Itria, you will see Ostuni long before you arrive; the vast ‘White City’ rising high above the ocean of olive trees that sweep through this verdant area of Puglia.

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