With the Piedmont region being one of finest destinations for foodies and wine connoisseurs, the picturesque town of Alba features high up on the list of Italy attractions. Gourmand travelers from all over the globe love Alba for its precious white truffles, pedigreed red wines and excellent restaurants.
In medieval times Alba was as the “City with hundred towers”, although only a few of them remain today. A stroll around the town will reveal its long and rich history. Alba’s old streets are studded with Roman ruins, medieval castles, lavish palaces, Baroque and Gothic churches. On the splendid Piazza Risorgimento stands the ancient Il Duomo flanked by a medieval bell tower. Across the square, you can see the 13th century building of Palazzo Comunale which houses some spectacular paintings. Corso Vittorio Emanuele is known for its exquisite delicatessen shops where you will find enticing displays of Alba’s elegant Barolo and Barbaresco wines, as well as another local specialty – truffles in all their delectable forms.
Every fall, in October, the streets of Alba fill up with arrivals for the annual Truffle fair and truffle auction. Celebrity chefs and gourmands with deep pockets from all over the world bid for fragrant tubers, which are dubbed as “diamonds of the kitchen”. Record prices are paid at the fair, up to $4000 per kilo of the precious white truffle. However, you can enjoy truffles without breaking the bank: most restaurants in Alba serve delicious dishes made with them, from a simple risotto to ice cream.
No visit to Alba would be complete without a wine tasting. There are 290 wineries just outside the town, many of them are open by special appointment. Whether you choose to sample the Ferrari of reds, Barolo, expressive Barbaresco, or elegant Barbera, you will understand why the most common complaint among visitors to Alba is… too much good wine and delicious food and not enough time to try them all! You will want to come back, it is guaranteed.
Photos by: Gabriele Quaglia, Cristiano Gatti, Andy Nelson.