From a distance, the hilltop town of Ostuni looks like the decorators have done only half a job. Called in to whitewash the walls, maybe they only brought the short ladders with them. While the lower levels gleam in the Adriatic sun, the upper storey, typified by the top spot of the duomo, remains in need of some touching up and paint work. Yet it works. Together they dominate the olive-studded plain below.
There is probably a local byelaw – you can paint your homes and walls whatever colour you like …. as long as it’s white.
Stepped and arched alleys nibble up and down and around, connecting curly, mule-wide passageways. Small bars and eateries hide around corners in alcoves and small, odd shaped courtyards. Tables/chairs balance precariously on uneven, cobbled pathways and staff step up with bottles & plates & platters, dishing up delicious food from tantalising menus.
Where does everyone go? Pre dinner the place is buzzing. Street bars fill the air with jazz and cocktails, lovers lounge on low cushions, tourist groups chat through their day.
As the evening progresses the bars empty and the restaurants in the backstreets fill. The burnished stones of the main streets are now exposed with no crowds to cover them up.
Ostuni is a great place with character and atmosphere. Meals and shopping may cost a bit more but it feels like a fun place to be with quirky bars and cafes, new eating experiences and some good places to while away some time before browsing the wide range of good quality shops.
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