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Ostuni, what to see in Puglia's white city

What to do in Ostuni is never an issue. Its whitewashed houses and hilltop location make it an irresistible attraction for visitors to Italy's Puglia region and there is plenty to see and do there if you are planning a visit.

Wondering what to see in Ostuni? It's an easy question to answer for history lovers. The 15th century Cathedral is the centrepiece of the city. With its striking Gothic facade, Baroque interior and large rose window it's an oasis of beauty and tranquility. Next door to the Cathedral, visitors can head to the 16th century Palazzo Vescovile and the elegant 18th century Palazzo Municipale.

Puglia's "white city" has seen Roman, Ostrogoth, Norman, Spanish and modern Italian rulers. The city has been fought over again and again, which is why it has such an impressive set of city walls that are one of Ostuni's best attractions.

Just outside town, visitors can also enter the holy sanctuary of San Biagio, which is the site of an annual pilgrimage held every February. Tourists can watch the procession or peer into the pothole at the sanctuary, thought to be the largest cave in Puglia.

The history of the area has left some unique architectural features that add to the charm. The conical Trulli houses keep their occupiers warm in winter and pleasantly cool in summer, and make for comfortable rental properties during a stay in the city.

If you head over for a summer holiday in Ostuni, things to see include dazzling parades and music festivals. The “La Cavalcata di Santo Oronzo” takes place in late August and features a procession of mounted knights. August also sees the spectacular “La processione della Grata”, in which hundreds of locals parade at nightfall, candles in hand. It's a magical sight.

Food is another major aspect of the city's appeal, and a fine restaurant or two should be on any things to do list while visiting Ostuni. Thumb sized Orecchiette pasta, Panzerotti that look like mini calzones and aubergines grilled in local olive oil are just some of the culinary Ostuni attractions. 
Anyone travelling to Puglia should couple the food with some of the province's world famous wines. Producing many of Italy's best vintages, Puglian wine is full-bodied, drinkable and the perfect accompaniment for pizza or pasta.

If you want to blend history, beauty and fine food and drink, there's nowhere quite like it.