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What to do in Ostuni?

The "white city" has a curious history and is full of magic! One of the most unforgettable cities you can visit! Did you like the idea? Shall we get to know the attractions of this incredible place?

Beautiful view of Ostuni, the white city in the south of Italy
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What to do in Ostuni?

When we look at Ostuni from afar, it may seem that we are on some Greek island, or perhaps, in some small town in the south of Spain, but the uniqueness of this calm and delightful city is noticeable while we visit it! Most of the buildings, painted in white, contrast harmoniously with the dark of its rocks and the beautiful blue of its sea. What to do in Ostuni, the white city? We will show you the “stepping stones” to get to know this incredible place! Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patriciayou make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”

A little of Ostuni’s history

The history of its buildings being painted white as snow is curious: in the early 1800s the city was experiencing a drought never seen before and this caused epidemics and hunger for the population. The government at the time decided to paint the houses with lime, since they believed they had a disinfectant function, and so all the houses took a ‘bath’ of lime, which characterizes the city until today. How about taking a 2-hour guided tour of Ostuni today? Click here to learn more!


We start the tour through the historic center, on Via Cattedrale, the main one in the city. Piazza della Libertà (“Freedom Square”) is home to the famous Obelisco di Sant’Oronzo (Obelisk of St Orontius), built in 1771. It is just over 20 meters high and has a statue of the saint on top. Next to the Obelisk is the oldest church in the city, the Church of the Holy Spirit, built in 1637. Its portal, however, was built in 1450 and served as a facade for another church, the Medieval Church of All Saints (Chiese di Ognisanti), which today is in Piazza del Moro (“Moore Square”). Continuing, it is possible to see the Palazzo Municipale (Town Hall Palace) dominating the landscape over there; to the side, it is possible to see the Church dedicated to St Francis Assisi, which in other times was a monastery.

2) What to do in Ostuni? VISIT THE CATHEDRAL OF OSTUNI

Arriving at the Cathedral Square it is possible to see it imposing in the center. The city’s Cathedral is dedicated to St Mary of the Assumption, and is one of the most beautiful in Ostuni. What is most striking is undoubtedly its facade, built between 1469 and 1500, and its rose window, which is, by the way, one of the largest in the world. It has 24 beams worked in all details, 12 concentric arches decorated with flowers and the figure of the twelve apostles. In the middle of this masterpiece, surrounded by seven angels, is the image of Cristo Sole, who is the master of the entire universe.


In the same Cathedral Square, you can see the Vescovile Palace, built in 1560, but destroyed in 1743 because of an earthquake. It underwent a reconstruction out in the same year. Next door is the Seminario Palace, built between 1705 and 1750; the facade is original, but the interior underwent a full renovation in the 1950s.

About the two Palaces

The two palaces connect each other by a kind of arch-shaped ‘bridge’. The city was built within four walls, as a protection strategy against invaders, called “Portas”, they are: Porta San Francesco, which is close to the Franciscan Convent, Porta Del Ponte, where there was a drawbridge, in the middle of two towers (the bridge no longer exists) Porta Nova and Porta di San Demetrio, still visible.


Still in the center is the Civic Museum, which is located inside the old Church of Saint Vitus. Leaving the center, there are some sanctuaries such as the Sanctuary of Saint Vitus and the Sanctuary of Saint Blaise. The beaches are an attraction in itself! Read also What are the 10 must-see places in Apulia?

Watch this video about Ostuni, the White City!

(Source: Omar Verderame)

How to get to Ostuni?

1) How to get to Ostuni? BY TRAIN

The Ostuni train station is 2 km from the center and the trains that stop there leave from Milan, Bologna, Rome, Brindisi and Lecce. Did you know that Trenitalia is the main Italian company dedicated to the management of railway transport? Also find out “What is the difference between trains in Italy?”. Would you like to save? So buy your ticket online in advance and save a lot, read the Post “How to buy a train ticket in Italy?“.

2) How to get to Ostuni? BY BUS

Buses leave from Brindisi and leave all day long; if you prefer you can take the bus in Taranto, Fasano and Cisternino. The main stop is at Viale dello Sport, some stop at Piazza Italia.

3) How to get to Ostuni? BY CAR

Ostuni is located right in the middle between the cities of Bari, accessible by the SS16 highway, and Lecce, by the SS613 highway; travel time from both Bari and Lecce is approximately one hour.

Traveling by car in Italy

How about if I give you a rental car option? Are you ready for it? If you are renting a car be sure to read our posts in the section Driving in Italy on the blog Your Travel to Italy. In addition to car itinerary tips, we have everything about signage, tolls, roads and many more tips.

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What to do in Ostuni? The city is full of history and fantastic monuments, one of the places less explored by tourists, but it deserves a visit. And if you feel insecure or have no time, and need help to organize your trip, do not hesitate to look for me! I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy. And how can I do that? Continue reading this post until the end and you will understand how can we make your life and journey easier.

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