The heart of Ostuni is Piazza della Libertá. Sitting at the cusp of the old historic center and the “new” town, this square serves as the community living room where Ostuni’s inhabitants gather for events or just hang out, day or night.
A towering obelisk overlooks the piazza. Created by sculptor Giuseppe Creco in 1771, this column looks more like an elongated Baroque pyramid, sporting winged putti and topped by St. Oronzo, the patron saint of Ostuni. From his bird’s eye view, he can see everything in the piazza. And here is where all the action happens.
From the piazza, our apartment was but a five-minute walk. Back in our little hobbit house, we uncorked the chilled Prosecco and sat on the rooftop balcony, enjoying a glass or two of this Italian version of Champagne. The sun was sinking and we were getting hungry. We had seen plenty of restaurants to choose from during our walkabout.
The air was still warm. I wouldn’t need a coat tonight, I thought to myself. But where was my coat? Then I remembered. It was still tucked deep into the far corner of that armadio in our previous hotel…back in Matera. I was crestfallen. It was my favorite jacket! Oh well, too late now. I would email the hotel later and see if they could send it back to California for me.
Ready for dinner, we wandered back towards the historic center, passing through Piazza della Libertá on our way. One end of the piazza was fenced off. Curious, we veered over to have a look. A few feet below, the crumbling remains of an ancient stone structure was slowly coming to light. What other treasures lie below, we wondered, just waiting for archaeologists to dig their way down and reveal them?
The action in the piazza was already picking up. A large stage was set up at one end with huge speakers off to the sides and lights pointing downward from tall poles. Something was definitely happening here tonight. And we had no intention of turning in early.