Ostuni
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OSTUNI

Only a few kilometres from the beautiful Adriatic coast, on top of a solitary hill, is where one can visit Ostuni, known as the White City.
Its name derives from the Greek Astu-neon, signifying a new city and probably referring to another pre-existing city on the same hill.

It is almost certain that the territory on the slopes of the hill, could have been inhabited by the Messapians (5th Century BC), as testified in finds of tombs in the areas of Rosara, Santo Stefano, Boario Market and Villa Nazareth.
The territory however, was inhabited since Palaeolithic-Middle times (50.000 years ago) and also during the High. The find of the Santa Maria of Agnano crypt is important, where the skeleton of a pregnant woman lay and was discovered.
There have also been finds of Neolithic settlements in numerous localities around Ostuni.
Like the whole of Puglia, Ostuni passed under Roman domination after the battles against Pirro (280-275 BC), and during the Second Punic War, the City had to suffer scourge brought by the clashes between the Carthaginians of Hannibal and the Romans (220-205 BC).
Not much is known about the Roman Imperial Period nor the Medieval, but the habitation existed around 1000 years before the arrival of the Normans.
It was Ruggero II, the Norman, who ordered the construction of the Castle. Today, only the garden and a turret remains from the period of Ostuni Goffredo (1101-1115), Count of Lecce. On his death, it passed to his son Accardo, and then directly to the Crown.
The following century (12th Century), Ostuni belonged to Roberto Visconte, then once again was Regio Demanio (Royal Property) and then part of the Principality of Taranto, rightfully Manfredi’s, son of the Emperor Federick II of Swabia.
The death of Manfredi (1266) coincided with the ascension to the throne of the Angiò Family in the South, and Carlo II gave Ostuni to his son Filippo in 1294.
In 1373 it passed to Giacomo Del Balzo, then Sanseverino, therefore the Orsini (1420), following the history of the Principality of Taranto.
In the 15th Century, the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral was constructed.
Under the Aragonese, Ostuni was bought by Caterina Sanseverino, but there was an uprising by its inhabitants who were discontent with the economic situation. It quickly passed hand during the years of clashes between the Spanish and French, to Bona Sforza (1524), daughter of Isabella of Aragona and King of Poland.
It was bought by Ferdinando Loffredo and by Duke Giovanni Zevallos during the subsequent century (1639), and remained this way until Ostuni experienced a brief republican period following the decline of Napoleon Bonaparte in Italy (1799).
It then returned to Zevallos and became their feudatory on 2nd August 1806, the day feudal rights were abolished by Giuseppe Bonaparte, King of Naples.
With the re-instatement of the Bourbons to the throne of the Two Sicilies (1815), democratic petitions existed in the Carbonare and Renaissance secret associations, which provoked the motions of 1820 and 1848, decisive steps for the birth of the Reign of Italy (1861).
Ostuni wholeheartedly adhered to Republican ideals and became one of the fulcrums of protest in the entire region.
Afterwards, the City and its territory suffered for the brigandage phenomenon until the advent of the First World War, when Ostuni contributed with the sacrifice of some of its citizens.
Between the two wars, Ostuni’s economy was essentially based on agriculture and its products. They are well known for olive oil in the area.
Instead, in recent times, Ostuni has taken on more of a tourist vocation, encouraged by the beauty of its streets and city life.
Ostuni is known as the White City for the particular colouring of its houses in caustic limestone, making them visible from afar. The use of this limestone, derived from the period of pestilence, is a good method of lighting the streets which are embedded between closely positioned houses.
Ostuni can be visited by entering Porta Nova (15th Century) and Porta San Demetrio (13th Century), which open up along the city-wall and have the peculiarity of accommodating civil rooms.
Among the churches we would like to cite: S. Giacomo of Compostella (15th Century), S. Maria Annunziata (1499), the modest Madonna of Nova (1561), S. Pietro (1659) and the Cathedral (15th Century) with its splendid rose window.
One can relax by stopping in the Villa Comunale, the only park in the City.

OSTUNI
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Puglia (Apulia) region of Italy

 

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Masseria Brancati - Ostuni B&B Masseria Brancati - www.masseriabrancati.com
Historical Masseria between Ostuni and the sea plunged in secular olive trees. Apartments and rooms available all the year and excellent production of olive oil...
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