The "Heel" of "the Boot"

Community Highlights Europe The "Heel" of "the Boot"

The "Heel of the Italian Boot," a picturesque and culturally rich part of the country, primarily refers to the region of Puglia. This region stretches along the southeastern coat of Italy, encompassing a diverse range of landscapes and cities, each with its unique charm and history. Bari, Italy, the capital of Puglia, is one of the best kept secret along the Adriatic Coast. This region beckons with plenty of unique cultural experiences, captivating sights and authentic southern Italian flavor. It was our good fortune to travel within Puglia today to a town that's been inhabited since the Stone Age known as "the white city" or Ostuni.


The Normans constructed their fortified medieval settlement atop the hill, complete with a castle and city walls punctuated by four gates, forming a formidable defensive structure that dominated the surrounding landscape.


As we strolled through the narrow, picturesque streets, arches, and stairways of the walled city, we found ourselves captivated by the charming architecture and rich history that seemed to emanate from every spot.


Nestled within the winding streets of Ostuni's walled city, rests the awe-inspiring Cathedral of Ostuni, a 15th-century architectural marvel. This church boasts a stunning Gothic-style exterior, adorned with an exquisite rose window and an ornate central portal.


After exploring the enchanting labyrinth of narrow alleys and quaint squares, we decided to take a break at a cozy café. There, we savored a robust Americano coffee and a delightful, cream-filled pastry, while Jeff indulged in an authentic Italian gelato, a perfect respite during our immersive journey through this timeless stronghold.


Afterwards we drove through the country on the old Roman Traiana Way. In the picturesque farmlands surrounding Ostuni, we noticed peculiar conical structures dotting the landscape. These unique buildings, known as "trulli" (singular: "trullo"), are ancient dry stone huts with distinctive conical roofs, constructed using a prehistoric building technique that has survived for centuries. They're built using local limestone, carefully stacked without the use of mortar. The walls are thick, providing excellent insulation from the heat of summer and the cold of winter. The conical roofs, made of concentric circles of limestone slabs. Historically, trulli served various purposes, including housing for agricultural laborers, storage for tools and crops, and even as temporary shelters for field workers during the harvest season.


At a the farmhouses, dating back to the 17th century, we visited the factory used for the production of olive oil that's been in a family for five generations. Several ancient olive trees, some as old as 1000 years, could be forund on the property. After the tour of the factory we tasted some fresh, delicious olive oils before heading back to Bari.


As we pulled into port, I noticed an impressive sight: grain silos in the process of being painted. When we departed in the morning, I witnessed a painter elevated on a man-lift; by the time we returned, he had left for the day, but you can see the progress he's made on improving the environment with this incredible mural.


Bari was a real treat, with its crystal-clear lagoons embraced by dramatic cliffs, an imposing medieval castle, and cathedrals, as well as a bustling historic quarter. One would never believe that just a few years ago, the city was ridden with crime, and even the locals were reluctant to venture into the city center. Other towns and countries could learn a lesson from Bari on the positive impact that an initiative to clean up the town and welcome tourism can have on the community as a whole. As I mentioned earlier, Bari is now one of the best-kept secrets along the Adriatic coast.

This featured blog entry was written by Where2FromHere from the blog Where 2 From Here?.
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By Where2FromHere

Posted Wed, Jun 19, 2024 | Italy | Comments