Pictures of Ostuni, the Citta Blanca (White City), Puglia Italy. The magnificent white building of Ostuni sit high on 229m high hill overlooking the coastal plain of Puglia and the Adriatic sea. Archeological finds of a young women’s body buried in a grotto 25,000 years ago show that Ostuni has been inhabited since pre-history.
When the Greeks started colonising Southern Italy form the 7th century BC Ostuni became a Greek settlement and was named "Astu-neon" (which means “new city”). This name derivated to Asteyneon eventually becoming Ostuni. In the 3rd century BC Rome started annexing the Greek provinces leading to conflict with Carthage which is known as the Punic wars during which Ostuni was sacked by Hannibal. After the fall of Rome in the west in 476 Ostuni was sacked by the Goths after which southern Italy fell into a long period of instability and was hotly fought over.
Saracen raiders decimated the coast of Southern Italy and the area became depopulated. Puglia was the last stronghold of the Byzantine Romans in Italy who eventually lost control of the area to the Normans and in 996 Ostuni became a Norman city and started the medieval citadel development and fortifications that can be seen today. In 1507 Ostuni came under the rule of Isabella, Duchess of Bari, wife of Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan and enjoyed a golden age as the Italian Renaissance bloomed in an explosion that engulfed western Europe. The fortifications of Ostuni were reinforced against anticipated attacks from the Turks who occupied the Balkans just across the Adriatic from Ostuni in 1539. Today the old citadella is considered to be a medieval architectural jewel, its narrow streets and white building being typical of the area and the period.
Little remains of the castle that once stood at the summit of the hill but in its place is a magnificent Italian Gothic cathedral. Unlike the flamboyant Gothic architecture of northern Italy, the cathedral of Ostuni has a simplicity of form. Above its simple Gothic style ogival main door is a relief sculpture of the Madonna and Child above which is a Rose Window. The walls of the facade that curve upwards to a simple cross are edges by stone tracery and small relief sculptures of peoples heads, Two simple towers stand at either end of the facade with typical Gothic Gargoyles of strange animals. The medieval streets of Ostuni run concentrically around the hill with narrow passages linking them. From every vantage point the white buildings of Ostuni stand against the green olive groves of the coastal plain that stretch away below to the azure blue Adriatic sea sparkling in the distance.