Carol Forster column

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If you’re in Puglia, there’s one town you simply have to see.

Known as ‘La citta bianca’ (or white city), Ostuni is like a set of pearly teeth gleaming in the sun – a whitewashed vision of beauty, there perched on three hills.

It’s really one of the loveliest towns in Puglia and can be found some 40km north-west of Brindisi in the southern part of the ‘Le Murge’ zone.

As you wander through Ostuni’s cobbled streets, you can see many traces of Baroque architecture, with its hallmark intricate ornamentation and fine attention to the smallest detail.

A 21m high obelisk in ‘Piazza della Liberta’ is dedicated to Sant’Oronzo.

It’s said that he met Saint Paul in Corinth and then became the first bishop of Lecce.

Refusing to reject his Christianity, when he was imprisoned by Nero’s little helper Antoninus, he was released but later executed by the right rotten rapscallion.

Every year, from 25th to 27th August, a three day festival is held in his honour.

This saint seems to get everywhere in Puglia.

He must have been quite a guy as he’s not only Lecce’s patron saint, where the main piazza bears his name, but according to legend, he is also associated with a miraculous spring near Ostuni.

And, with nowt but a good dose of will, he’s credited with curing Brindisi’s plague, as well we know.

I see him as an ancient James Bond, firing on all cylinders.

I bet he could beat Taras in a dolphin race and ‘get where t water can’t’!

Lancaster could do with him as I’m sure he wouldn’t put up with any nonsense.

He’d sort it all out, no problem!

Travelling uphill you find the 15th century Gothic-romanesque cathedral and, in the ‘Museo di Civita Preclassifiche’ you’ll find ‘Delia’, the ancient skeleton of a young pregnant woman who‘s a mere slip of a thing at only 25000 years of age.

Finally, although inland, it’s not impossible to reach some desirable beaches a few kilometres away, should you fancy competing with Taras.