Benvenuti in Puglia - welcome to Puglia.
Ostuni rises up from the Valle d'Itria, crowning the hill it sits on. The white walls and buildings of the old town gleam in the distance and can be seen as you drive along the main coastal highway.
The Big Gay Podcast from Puglia Travel Hack | The best views driving into Ostuni are from the E55 (SS379) Adriatic coastal highway along the SP19 (take the exit at Pilone coming down from the north/Bari) or from the SP21 (take the Torre Pozzella exit coming up from the south - Lecce/Brindisi) turning off at the Contrada Rosaria fork as you climb to approach Ostuni.
Lime washing the town's houses - a practice believed to have originated as a defence against the plague in the 17th century - is still carried out annually, lightening up the centro storico's maze of dark medieval streets and alleys that wind and creep around.
Off-season Ostuni - from mid/end of October to Easter - is extremely quiet. Many bars and restaurants in and around the old town stay closed. During the daytime especially options for eating out will be very limited. We estimate that two-thirds of Ostuni's bars and restaurants in and around the old town remain closed off-season.
Spring revives the city. Ostuni wakes up after Easter and is in its Puglia prime all summer long, white and golden on each and every hot, hot day. At the height of the season the population swells from about 32,000 to over 100,000.
Ostuni's nooks and crannies are worth taking two or three days to explore, at a gentle pace. It has a vibrant centro storico in summer, with restaurants and bars tucked away in every alleyway twisting around and up and down the hilltop upon which the duomo sits.
It is also the perfect home base for venturing into the Valle d'Itria and beyond.
Ostuni is 40 km (about 25 miles, less than a 30 minute drive) north from Brindisi's Salento airport and around 100 km (62 miles, a little over an hour's drive) from Bari airport.
Like most Italian towns and cities, car parking in Ostuni can be a challenge.
Although it fills up pretty quickly in summer try parking in the municipal pay and display car park opposite the Confraternita del Carmine church between Via Salvatore Tommasi and Via Giosuè Pinto.
2021 Charges | cars - €0.52 per hour | €1.20 per hour between 15 June/September from 21:00 - 02:00 | caravans €90 per hour.
The Big Gay Podcast from Puglia Travel Hack | the pay and display machines at both these parking spots require you to input your vehicle registration (license plate). If you have a hire car keep a photo of this to say you having to go back and re-join the line to pay for your ticket.
From there it's a 2-minute walk to the heart of Ostuni; the Piazza della Libertà and up to the duomo.
Cross the Piazza della Libertà (main town square), with the baroque obelisk of Sant' Oronzo (la colonna), the patron Saint of Ostuni; stop for a spritz at Caffè Garibaldi on the piazza before taking the Via Cattedrale up into the old town to the duomo, Ostuni's cathedral with its symmetrical tripartite facade, and rose windows.
Continue up to the duomo, where you will also find the Arco Scoppa, the ornate pedestrian bridge between the buildings, originally in wood. Enjoy an ice-cream from the gelateria a little beyond the arch, before turning the corner to enjoy the panoramic view from the east, out to sea, taking in the acres and acres of silver green olive groves (try to blank out the ugly industrial buildings spoiling the view, beyond which is the train station).
Don't forget to take a selfie at La Porta. These days it seems to be a more popular selfie stop than the adjacent view of the olive groves.
Go down the steps, keeping right, and up some more, to find your way around the edge of the old town and back to the via Cattedrale. Alternatively keeping left will take you around the outer wall.
Whenever you visit, be sure to take your time to enjoy Ostuni - la città bianca.
Drop-off service is suitable for transfer from/to Naples airport or railway station to Sorrento, Positano, Praiano, Amalfi, Ravello or the other towns on the Amalfi Coast.