Welcome to my article on the best things to do in Ostuni. My name is Laura Colori – a photographer and content creator, half from Veneto and half from Puglia. I have always had a passion for photography since I was little. Over time, I cultivated this amateur hobby into a real profession.
Photography and travel are two concepts that go hand in hand. I believe they are the perfect combination. I love street photography, improvisation and spontaneous moments. My favorite photo subjects are fishermen, grannies sitting in front of old doors, hanging octopuses, etc. I love trying to convey the Italian spirit (both the people and places) through my shots.
I grew up in Verona but have always spent my summers in Gallipoli with my grandparents. I’m not sure if I feel more Venetian or Apulian – maybe both. From Puglia, I gained a love for the sea, Mediterranean cuisine and warm personalities. Let’s also not forget the suntan that never burns!
A Week Touring the Puglia Region
Every year of my life, for 25 years, I have gone to Puglia during the summer. Normally, I would visit my grandparents in Gallipoli. So I never had the chance to explore more of Puglia. In recent years, I promised myself that I would discover more of this region. Ostuni was on my list of places to see.
I explored Puglia in the summer of 2020 and took a tour for a week – starting from Gallipoli, going up towards Otranto, Lecce and Ostuni, and then continuing to Alberobello, Monopoli, Polignano a Mare and then Gargano. I only stayed in Ostuni for a day but it was wonderful.
The thing that struck me most about this city was its simplicity and beauty. Ostuni is completely white and untouched by tourism. The very appearance of this city invites peace and calm. Between its walls and down its winding white alleyways you can breathe in a sense of serenity.
Why Ostuni is a Must-Visit City
I would say this to every traveler: if you are looking for nightlife, crowds of people and confusion – go somewhere like Mykonos or Ibiza but not to Ostuni. On the other hand, if you want to fill your eyes with beauty, history and Italian spirit then yes please come visit this wonderful Apulian town.
Ostuni is one of a kind! It almost has a lunar appearance. Nothing is left to chance – be it the vase outside in the alley or the colors of the doors. For photographers, there are many adorable views to enjoy. Personally, I love taking simple photos and strongly believe less is more. Ostuni is the ultimate place for taking shots like this. Every corner is a new discovery.
When visiting, you have to forget your navigators and get lost down the alleys. A white labyrinth of adventure awaits. I particularly remember one neighborhood with white stairs leading to small blue doors. There were tomatoes hanging out the windows to dry. The scent of a sauteed dish was in the air – home cooking from granny. Everything was perfect!
Top 5 Things To Do in Ostuni
- Get lost in the alleys and forget Google Maps.
- Have an aperitif with a view of the countryside. There are many interesting places for this. My favorite was La Mela Bacata Lounge Bar.
- Taste an ice cream with unusual flavors typical of the Ostuni area. I recommend the fig, almond milk and prickly pear flavors. I tried these ice creams at Cremeria Alla Scala – such a fantastic place for ice cream!
- Take a tour with the typical 3-wheeled Ape Cars. I don’t recommend choosing the ones with lights and loud music. The traditional Ape Cars are the best. Not only will you be supporting the local inhabitants but the tour will be a fascinating and peaceful blast from the past.
- As in all the villages of Puglia, there are many incredible churches and cathedrals to visit in Ostuni. I recommend checking them out – especially one called Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption. Its baroque architecture creates a stunning contrast with the city.
Soulful Inhabitants of this City
As I mentioned, the best way to experience Ostuni is by immersing in its streets and getting to know the locals. For this reason, if you choose to take a tour with the Ape Car, I recommend looking out for grandparents and not young people. They showcase such spirit and authenticity.
Furthermore, photography has allowed me to establish a relationship with people. I often stop and talk to groups of old ladies who are sitting in front of doors. I also love talking with local artisans and fishermen. This is always an enriching experience because they have a lot to say. They are pearls of wisdom and have a welcoming spirit which is typical of southern Italy.
Then there are the young people who are opening modern clubs and lounge bars. In my opinion, this contrast between the classicism of white walls and the modernity of bars is beautiful. It represents the multifaceted soul of Ostuni. Different generations each bringing something unique.
Typical Food of Southern Italy
In Puglia, fish is a must. I particularly love crudites because the products are so fresh and tasty. Unfortunately, since I only stayed in Ostuni for one day, I didn’t have the chance to try out many restaurants. What I can recommend is to choose a cocktail or smoothie because the fruit in the south is delicious. The typical Apulian coffee is also inevitable!
My Favorite Moment from Ostuni
The most beautiful moment that I experienced in Ostuni was when the sun was setting majestically after walking, taking photos and exploring the labyrinth streets for hours. We stopped for an aperitif before leaving for our tour. I remember being extremely happy and satisfied with all the beauty I had seen that day. Ostuni is so simple but it knows how to steal your heart.
Need to Know Before you Go
Before planning your visit to Ostuni, it’s important to know that if you reach the city by car you can leave it just below the walls outside the city. There is a fairly large parking lot. For other technical advice Google will certainly be more informed than me. But for creative advice I’m the right person!
I suggest dressing in white or blue, to be in tone with the walls and doors. Your photos will be harmonious! And then it’s important to visit Ostuni with the right people. This city is romantic and must be lived with sweetness. A friend, partner or even in solitude. Ostuni makes you fall in love.