Gallipoli has traditionally been the pulse of Puglia’s gay summer scene, voted Italy’s best gay 2021 destination in a survey of Italian LGBTQ+ travel blog Gayly Planet’s readers.
Yet over the last few years Ostuni’s popularity as a base for international gay visitors has grown. In 2022 we noticed a throb of gay visitors in and around Ostuni.
The White City rises up from the Valle d’Itria. The old town gleams from the distance. It has a vibrant centro storico in summer, with restaurants and bars to be discovered in every alleyway twisting around and up and down the hilltop upon which the duomo sits. Ostuni’s nooks and crannies are worth taking two or three days to explore, at a gentle pace.
Ostuni is perfectly positioned as a base to explore the Valle d’Itria and its best beaches, and beyond. Lecce and Bari (and everywhere in between) are easy day trips.
Perhaps it is because Ostuni offers a grown-up, sophisticated evening in contrast to Gallipoli’s quick and easy gratification with its ad hoc, take it or leave it bright strip light bars. You will find Ostuni is in no rush to pleasure you, knowing it has what you need to leave satisfied, wanting more.
Enjoying a late breakfast in the bars around Sant’ Oronzo’s column, a lazy, leisurely lunch in the old town, at nearby Torre Guaceto’s gay and nudist beach during the afternoon and back in town for an aperitivo, dinner and drinks.
Without a doubt, one of the draws to Ostuni are the nearby gay beaches. Torre Guaceto’s gay and nudist beach is hugely popular and a local favourite. Known nationally, and internationally, the hard to reach beach draws visitors all summer long.
Lamaforca and Torre Pozzella are mixed beaches, but draw a gay crowd. They are busy cruising spots, drawing men who for various reasons, prefer not to go to gay beaches. They are both incredibly popular with married men who come for something other than the sun and the sea.
The best way to experience Ostuni as an urban destination is to stay in its centro storico, the historic centre in and around Piazza della Libertà. We wouldn’t go further south than Parco Rimembranze. To the east we suggest no further than 2 streets away from Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi. Heading west anywhere from Paragon 700 towards the piazza. Try to stay within the boundaries shown below.
If you choose an apartment in the circular area, be sure to check the parking arrangements. This area is a controlled ZTL, a zone where traffic is limited to residents with permits. Drive into it during certain hours, even accidentally, and an automatic fine will follow.
If you are visiting between May to September you will definitely want an apartment with air conditioning, mosquito screens, and most importantly, a roof terrace. Irrespective of how beautiful and authentic the interior, without a terrace you be selling yourself short of the essential Ostuni experience: morning coffee on the terrace, aperitivi as the sun sets.
Our favourite is, of course, apartment q/40. Gay owned and run, it is spacious and has 3 separate terraces, including a sun deck on the top terrace. It is now booking for 2023. The owners tell us they will be launching it on third party booking websites in 2023, but for the moment discounted direct bookings are available direct from their Puglia Prime website.
We haven’t received any payment or incentive to promote apartment q/40 but we have used the apartment to stay in and to arrange photoshoots for our own guides for no charge. Some of those photos are featured in this post.
Whatever the reason, Paragon 700 - the boutique hotel & spa known for its queer party nights - the gay q/40 apartment and the Sherocco festival help ensure that Ostuni continues to be Puglia’s top gay urban destination for LGBTQIA+ travellers.