The trulli capital is what captured my attention many years ago on the cover of Italia! Magazine and drew me to Puglia. As you walk the Zona dei Trulli, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’re surrounded by over 1,000 of these mysterious structures.
The limestone buildings date back to the Middle Ages and served as peasant homes. The conical roof which makes them famous is made of grey stones called chiancarelle. With few windows and a round base, they stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The name Trulli comes from the Greek word ‘tholos’ which means dome although Trullo, the singular version of the word, means silly in Italian. :)Â You’ll see many roofs painted with symbols which is said to keep evil spirits away.
While the town is quite touristic with lots of souvenir shops, it gives you access to the inside of many trulli. Our favorite shop was Matarrese (Via Monte Pertica, 9) where we picked up some fabulous handmade linen towels, table runner and bread bag from the friendly owner Claudia Caporaso.
If you want to linger longer, grab dinner in a trulli at the Il Trullo d’Oro restaurant (Via Cavallotti 27) or rent your own for a stay at Trullidea.
As you approach Ostuni through the valley’s flat farmland, you see the breathtaking ‘white city’ sitting atop the hill in the distance. Find a spot for your car then make the short walk up to the Old Town dotted with churches including a 15th-century cathedral.
Called the ‘white city’ because of its white washed architecture, you feel like you’re in a Greek island as you meander through the town lanes busy with locals enjoying gelato or an aperitif at a local bar. Especially beautiful at sunset, we got to town in time for a great walk around and sunset views of the sea from the city’s limestone walls. We popped into one of the ‘direct from producer’ shops to pick up the region’s best olive oil, DOC Collina di Brindisi, which is delicious!
Thirsty, we stopped for a cocktail and people watching at Parisi Café (Via Cattedrale). Then stumbled onto a cute new restaurant, Casa San Giacomo (Via Bixio Continelli, 4), down a few stairs in a grotto with amazing local food and wine! We had the most delicious Incapriata di cicoria e purea di fave alla moda Ostunese, their local staple of fava bean puree with local chicory, and Orechiette al ragu misto e braciola, ‘little ear’ pasta which is THE local pasta shape with a mouthwatering sauce of pounded thin beef rolled with cheese and herbs). Squisito!!
Ostuni’s Old Town is full of restaurants and has one of the region’s best passeggiata, evening stroll. Parisi Café is also lively spot after dinner to cap off your evening in the ‘white city.’