An important cultural centre in Salento, Ostuni is also known as the “white city” and is located eight kilometres from the Adriatic coast, in the southern Murgia. The first settlement dates back to the IV – III century B.C. and was established by the Messapi. Destroyed at the end of the Second Punic War, the town was rebuilt by the Romans under which Ostuni flourished. A long period of alternating domination followed the fall of the Roman Empire: the Ostrogoths, Longobards, Normans, Suevians, Angionians and Aragons followed one after another, but none managed to subject the town to feudal rule. After 1800 Ostuni extended its territory by joining the medieval town with its current territory. Recent archaeological finds confirm human settlements around Ostuni from as early as the Palaeolithic period. In particular, much interest surrounds the well-preserved remains of a woman in labour lying in a large hollow and with a type of hat made out of very small shells.
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