Nearly 20 km (12 mi.) of pristine beaches, intimate coves, high sandy dunes and rocky tabletops that jut out to sea are just a short drive away from Ostuni, my adopted hometown, in the sun-drenched region of Puglia on Italy’s stilleto heel.
This little stretch of paradise, known as the Marina di Ostuni, is where I log a lot of steps with my VeryFitPro app on my smartwatch and plenty of photos and video on my tiny, but mighty, Osmo Pocket. From the Parco Regionale Dune Costiere (Regional Park of Coastal Dunes) up north, down to Lamaforca in the south, I pretty much have this well-kept secret all to myself in wintertime. 🤫
With postcard-perfect spots like Lido Morelli, Pilone, Rosa Marina, Villanova, Gorgognolo, Costa Merlata, Santa Lucia and Torre Pozzelle practically at my doorstep, I don’t lack for camera-ready scenery to get my heart racing. Next on my trek up and down the Marina di Ostuni: Monticelli and Quarto di Monte.
The hamlet of Monticelli, with its gate-guarded residential village, is blessed with a small sandy cove that embraces the varied shades of blue of the Adriatic Sea. Surrounded by high dunes full of rich Mediterranean vegetation, rocky outcrops and a copse of trees looking out to sea, Monticelli is a little gem that boasts the ruins of a Bronze Age village and, to a lesser degree, several World War II pillboxes.
A quick huff and puff to the top of the hill, veer left and follow the rustic trail until you reach the OMG lookout point at one of the aforementioned pillboxes. It’s a jaw-dropping view that draws the eye all the way down the dune-laden coastline and it’s array of blue flag-rated beaches and coves, like Quarto di Monte.
A hidden oasis, Quarto di Monte, just a short stroll from Monticelli, is an intimate cove with an inviting sandy beach surrounded by rocky cliffs and more meandering dunes to its left, and a rolling meadow to its right where that Bronze Age village lies.
No matter the route you take, you’ll be charmed by the clear-as-a-bell water and soft sands of Monticelli and Quarto di Monte, two must-see stops along the incomparable Marina di Ostuni.