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An Italian Slice of Paradise


Proudly and prominently, overlooking the region of Brindisi in Italy, this is a timeless artefact, a cultural feast that will warm every heart and infuse every passion.

Close your eyes and imagine a culture that has not been exploited by greedy multinationals, soiled by frivolous fashions, culturally retarded by obnoxious tourists. Now breathe in and taste the sweetly rustic yet naturally pure Italian sea air that, just like the culture, has been enclosed in a mystical chalk labyrinth since medieval times.

You are in the old town of Ostuni. One of Italy’s untainted and flawless gems, proudly defining genuine Italian culture while somehow making you feel as if you had always belonged there. Also, one of many places being made accessible to the budget traveller by the expansion of Ryanair and other low cost – no frills airlines into rural obscurities such as Brindisi. 
 

Ostuni Town

This beautiful town has been around since before Mesopotamian times and this is evident in the streets, the plaza’s, the many ornate and intricate monuments sprinkled around, the untouched ancient village and the charmingly mature bars and restaurants.

The deeply religious history is evident from the awe inspiring cathedrals, the symbolic statues built into most houses and serene stillness that takes over the town every Sunday. This is a place where common values of the old and young alike are as valued as the law. You immediately feel safe and comfortable because you get the feeling that to be disrespectful or rude, or more importantly to even slightly disrupt the soothing calmness that preserves the town, would carry more severe condemnation than anything else.
 
This feeling is largely down to the local folk who, although must notice the slightly arrogant demands of the average British tourist, show nothing but politeness and a willingness to assist. Even the older veterans of Ostunian tranquillity will always acknowledge visitors even if just passing in the street.
 
One of the most simplistic delights of this treasure chest is a stroll around the town. The historical part of Ostuni is a maze of narrow, inviting walkways that take you through the houses all built and joined by brilliantly white chalk walls. All the houses face into the walkways between them and the lives of the inhabitants spill over to create a feeling of constantly being at the centre of activity.

No two doorways or houses are alike and many are as old as the town itself. They come in all shapes and sizes and you can’t help but think you are walking through a fantasy land out of a book. Getting happily lost in this part is such a joy as you often end up finding some beautiful viewpoint, gothic cathedral or a new previously unnoticed delight of a bar or Cliffside restaurant, of which there are many.
 
Ostuni is famous in Italy for its seafood and truly it deserves this notoriety. The variety, quality and cooking methods are deliciously impressive and so is the range of establishments to relish these treats. They have everything from, candlelit cavern-like hideaways to stylishly elegant pizzerias to silk draped silver serviced restaurants. Each place has its own version of antipasti and some offer the cheaper, though very agreeable local wine.

There is no way to sum up the almost intoxicating allure of this charismatic and endearing town. It is a truly unique piece of Italian culture that beckons you to submerge yourself in the traditions and customs of the village’s own life, and leaves you wondering why you ever went anywhere else.

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