Agriturismo Masseria Selvaggi come Contattarci

Ostuni, architettura spontanea al massimo livello estetico.

Ostuni is a white town of great beauty, set on a hilltop overlooking and commanding the plain below.

It was an important town of the area even from pre-Roman Messapian times. Unfortunately its importance led it to undergo a turbulent history, being conquered by a succession of invaders and dynasties, from the Romans, then the Goths, the Greeks, Byzantines, and suffering Totila invasion in the sixth century.

Later came the Longobards, the Saracens and the Normans, under whom it gained some stability.

By 1294 the Princes of Taranto were feudal lords of Ostuni. A noted inhabitant at one time was Francesco di Assissi.

The town's fortifications did not prevent it changing hands in the middle ages, between the dukes of Aragon and Milan, the Venetians, the Aragonese again, and Spanish family control extended up until the early 1800s.

Modern Ostuni has many reminders of the town's important past. Atop the cluster of whitewashed houses which is visible for many miles, the 15th century cathedral dominates the view. Designated a national monument in 1902, it took some 60 years to build and has a fine front facade with three rose windows, and an impressive interior, remodelled in the 18th century.

Surrounding the cathedral is a medieval maze of steep narrow streets, alleys and whitewashed buildings, arches and tunnels. Nearby is the Bishop's Palace, built in part using stones of the earlier castle, remains of which can still be seen. To the north there are magnificent views down to the sea.

The walk down towards the newer quarters of the town passes amongst other churches and fine buildings Santa Maria Maddalena, a Baroque church with bright tiled cupola, and an 18th century Carmelite convent which is adjacent to a museum housing artifacts from Ostuni's pre-classical civilisation.

Down below the hill of the old quarter is the main square Piazza del Liberta, at one end of which is the tall-steepled 18th century church of Guglia di Sant' Oronzo, the patron saint of Ostuni, with a lively decoration inside and out. The square also contains a column and statue devoted to the saint. A little off the square is the 17th century church of Spirito Santo, with fine reliefs over the doorway.

Recent work in the pedestrian area of the square has exposed remains of medieval and earlier foundations and these have now been left open to view.

Outside Ostuni there are many sanctuaries and other remains showing historical evidence of the Christian church, dating back to the first century. In the fourth century Saint Biagio lived here, and he is remembered in the cave church crypt that housed his relics, and still shows fresco paintings.

Amongst other "chiese rupestri" or rock churches, of interest is the grotto of Santa Maria d'Agnano. In addition to its frescoes it is noted as the place of discovery of the tomb, said to be some 20,000 years old, of a young girl known as "Delia". Her remains are now in the town's museum.


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