The white city
The charming medieval town of Ostuni holed up on a hill, is located in the Province of Brindisi in Puglia. It is also known by the nickname “White City” because of its whitewashed houses entirely white.
Many caves have been found as natural shelters for communities belonging to the Paleolithic era, including the skeleton of “the woman of Ostuni” about twenty years pregnant, as well as finds from the Neolithic and Bronze Age finds.
The Messapi ancient Italic population founded the first nucleus of the city in the seventh century BC on a top of the hill protected by steep walls which also acted as a shelter to attacks, and provided for the construction of road works. Later, in the third century BC, the Romans conquered it and today some traces of remains in some farms built on the foundations of Roman villas. With the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Ostrogoths, Lombards, Saracens and Byzantines settled in turn leaving visible traces of their steps.
New fortifications were built in the borough by the Capetian House of Anjou that began the first trade with the creation of the Port of Villanova (the coastal part of the country).
The Aragonese created four-door access to the village of which today only the twelfth century Porta Nova is still evident rebuilt in the fifteenth century and Porta San Domenico of the thirteenth century, as well as thirteen towers.
With the Spanish rule in 1506, Ostuni began to experience a period of splendor by the granting of special favors by the Dukes. The walls were further reinforced and the Tower Pozzella was built (which no longer exists) and the Torre San Leonardo.
The decline of the city began in the seventeenth century due to the debts to the “Thirty Years War” (European conflicts from to 1618 to 1648), Philip IV of Habsburg sold it to the family Zevallos, merchants that the impoverished it. Moreover, the plague began to rage even if not directly struck the village as the whitewash used to paint houses turned out a good and effective natural disinfectant. With the advent of the Bourbons, the city slowly began to flourish.
The historical monuments of Ostuni
There are many sacred monuments such as the Cathedral of Ostuni in 1435 with the late Gothic facade and an interior rich in history with an Archive with over two hundred scrolls in 1137. The eighteenth-century Carmelite monastery with Baroque altars and valuable paintings. The Church of St. James of Compostela and Saints Cosmas and Damian in 1423. The Church of St. Francis of Assisi foundation dating back to the Middle Ages and the facade in 1882 with a painting of Moses breaking the tablets of the law as well as the beautiful wooden statues. The Church of the Holy Spirit in 1637 with the Renaissance portal, bas-reliefs of the fifteenth century and with significant paintings inside. The Church of the Capuchins or Santa Maria degli Angeli in 1585 with a Neapolitan painting of ‘600. The Church of the Annunciation in 1196 in baroque style. The Church of Santa Maria la Nova in 1561 with ogival portal, an eye and crown arched entrance created on the natural cave and important frescoes inside. The Shrine of St. Oronzo in the second half of ‘600. The Church of St. Biagio in Rialbo in the twelfth century with traces of Byzantine frescoes.
The beauty of the baroque buildings that adorn the narrow streets of the town, make Ostuni even more attractive as the Palazzo Ducale Zevallos, The Palazzo Siccoda of 1575, the Bishop’s Palace and the Old Seminary connected by the Scoppa arc, the palaces of the family Aurisicchio, the Ayroldi, Bisantizzi, Falghieri, Ghionda, Giovine, Jurleo, Palmieri, Petrarolo, Siccoda, Urselli and Zaccaria.
The monument par excellence of the borough is the Spire of Sant’Oronzo of 1771 with a height of over twenty meters and statues at mid-height of the Saints Biagio, Irene, Gaetano and Lucia that enhance the decoration in the Baroque style.
The area is littered with Masserie more or less important, such as: Masseria Santa Caterina with octagonal tower dating back to the XVI-XIX century, Masseria Lo Spagnulo of 1680 also fortified with a valuable steps in the eighteenth century and medieval tower, Masseria Carestia dating between 1754 and 1777 with prestigious decorations and Masseria Ottava with a fortified tower of the sixteenth century and attached the medieval church of the fourteenth century with prestigious portal with decorations.
Several are the festivities that take place in August as: the Ride of Sant’Oronzo dedicated to the homonymous protector with a parade of horses and riders dressed in medieval costumes, and the Festival of Old Times offering typical tasting and local artisans presenting crafts of the past past, the Festival Marinando with a program of theater and video about the sea and fishing and the Week of the Children of the Mediterranean as an educational event.
Delicious wines and succulent cuisine
The area is of significant importance for the agricultural sector with important vineyards that produce the famous wine Malavasia nera of Brindisi, Sangiovese, Negroamaro and Ottavianello over the olive trees for the production of extra virgin olive oil, vegetables, cherry and almond trees and succulent cuisine with dishes such as orecchiette, the bean puree, cavatelli with seafood, rolls with tomato sauce and lamb livers.