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Salento on the bus: Ostuni

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Puglia from the bus window is a sunny, wild land, shaped by history and wind. Traveling by public transport has its positive but also negative sides, if on the one hand you have plenty of time to admire the beauty of this region, on the other patience and adaptability are constantly put to the test.

Gallipoli was a small seaside break in days rich in history and culture. To visit it, I took the 104 Lecce-Porto Cesareo-Gallipoli line (6 euro one way ticket). Getting to the city was not difficult, but from the bus station, walking an hour and a half under the sun because there was no shuttle to the beaches, it was. The fatigue of the walk, however, vanished in front of the sea where, for a couple of hours, I forgot all thoughts. Ostuni, on the other hand, was pure poetry. I reached it by train from Lecce (11 euros). It was a journey through the countryside and farms that led me to the gates of the white city. A place where time has stopped: the houses climb the steep sides of a hill and the village is characterized by winding streets, squares, alleys and courtyards.

The magic of Ostuni, in fact, is in its color, that dazzling white that illuminates every wall, every house in the historic center called “La Terra”. The coloring with lime paint of the ancient village proved to be saving in the seventeenth century when the city experienced the tragedy of the plague. The epidemic arrived at the gates of Ostuni but spared its inhabitants as the lime, used to whitewash the walls, acted as a natural disinfectant thus preventing contagion. From then until today, white invades and illuminates alleys and squares, enhancing architectural jewels such as the fifteenth-century Romanesque-Gothic cathedral on which stands a large 24-spoke rose window.

Walking through the alleys of the city I stopped in front of the house with the blue door. One of the most photographed places in Ostuni. Located near the cathedral square, this small door, painted in the colors of the earth and the sky, is the entrance to a holiday home with terraces from which you can admire the sea.

Ostuni enchanted me with its simplicity: the clothes hanging in the sun to dry, the bougainvillea flowers real explosion of color in the whiteness of the streets, its well-kept restaurants and shops and its countless panoramic points from which to discover new corners of city and see the area of the “Marina” which with its 17 km of beaches has been repeatedly awarded the blue flag for the quality of the sea. For those who want to get to the city by train, both outward and return, there is a shuttle bus (ticket cost 2 euros) that connects the station with the historic center. You can ask for more information on its timetables at the tourist office of the town which is located in Corso Giuseppe Mazzini 8.

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