In the northeast corner of Italy, sits the beautiful and picturesque town of Alba of the Piedmont region. The city offers spectacular views of the Tanaro River, the often snow-covered Alps, and rolling green hills for miles just outside the city center. Whether you are escaping the big city bustle of nearby Turin, touring Alba’s plethora of wineries, or soaking in the charm of this lovely town, expect to be enchanted and captivated by the magic of this small and welcoming city.
There are too many reasons to count why the sleepy little town of Alba is one of the hidden jewels of northeastern Italy. A prime example is Alba’s location in a hilly part of the Piedmont countryside known as the Langhe, an area renowned for its landscapes and wine making tradition that is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a result, Alba is known worldwide for its hundreds of wineries located in the Langhe wine region, as well as the cultivation of white truffles.
Even with these modern contributions, the city has roots tracing all the way back to before the Roman Era. Many historians believe the city’s first inhabitants can be traced back to Ligurian or Celtic tribes. However, there is no denying the town’s role in the Roman Era with it being the birthplace of Roman Emperor Publius Helvius Pertinax. Over the ensuing years Alba became the Republic of Alba, part of the French Empire, and eventually part of the country of Italy.
The town’s economy is largely based on agriculture. The nearby river, fertile hills, and fairly comfortable climate make Alba highly conducive to cultivating crops, specifically grapes. The greater Alba area is filled with hundreds of vineyards and is ripe with white truffles. Another notable locally-grown ingredient throughout the Langhe area is the humble hazelnut, which features prominently in the tasty chocolate creations of the city’s internationally famous Ferrero confectionery plant.
The cuisine of Alba, rich with homemade pasta and white truffles, is delightfully indulgent. Tagliolini, sometimes referred to as tajarin, in Alba is generally a long, slender pasta made with egg dough. Agnolotti, somewhat similar to ravioli, is another popular local pasta that is square shaped and typically filled with meat or vegetables. White truffles from Alba are usually not cooked, but are served fresh via thin shavings over salads, risotto, and pasta. For dessert, be sure not to miss the delicious bunet, a traditional chocolate pudding.
The urban center of the city of Alba is quite charming. Wander the cobblestone streets and open-air piazze on a sunny day and take in the simple ways of this adorable historical town. As you tour the city, be sure to stop at some of Alba’s biggest attractions, including the Palazzo Comunale or City Hall, the medieval towers, the city gate, the Duomo of San Lorenzo, numerous museums, and street side cafes.
When traveling to the city of Alba, Italy there are several different modes of transportation to choose from. The town does not have a major airport, and the closest international airport would be Turin Airport. Due to its location in the countryside, the quickest and most direct way to reach Alba is by car, either by rental car or private driver.
Transportation within the city, particularly in the center of town, is primarily pedestrian. Locals and visitors often enjoy walking through the cobblestone streets and squares of the town either on foot or by bike. With such gorgeous natural scenery surrounding the city, it only enhances the Alba experience to be outside in it rather than being stuck inside a car or bus.
Alba is a largely green and hilly Italian town in the Piedmont region and part of the Province of Cuneo. Although this scenic city is about an hour away from the busy metropolis of Turin, Alba can easily seem like a different world with its hilly terrain and more rural surroundings.
The town sits fairly close to the Tanaro River, which also flows through other small villages in Piedmont. The nearby Alps rise majestically in the distance, providing astounding panoramic views from some of the highest points in Alba. The green and rolling hills that surround Alba are home to hundreds of internationally renowned wineries.
Overall, the town of Alba has relatively comfortable temperatures that are pleasantly warm in the summer and slightly cool in the winter. If warm weather in the seventy- or eighty-degree range (Fahrenheit) is what you crave, plan your visit during the summer months, although late spring and early fall can be agreeably warm as well.
The winter months tend to experience average highs around fifty degrees Fahrenheit and lows that tend not to dip below freezing. In general, winters can be mild here compared to other spots in northern Italy.
The rainiest seasons in Alba usually occur in spring and fall. Although summer can sometimes feel a bit humid, it is not considered to be a season with much rainfall. Snowfall can occur at times during the winter, but when it does snow it is usually at levels of less than half an inch.
WHEN IN ALBA
The fertile and hilly areas of the city combined with the nearby Tanaro River make Alba the perfect location for wineries. In fact, the town and the surrounding area host more than two hundred wineries that cultivate and produce locally made wine. In short, this city feels tailor made for wandering the roads of the countryside to enjoy a different wine tasting for every meal, and even in between meals.
Many of the wines made in Alba are considered to be among the finest in Italy. Some of the more frequently requested DOC wines from the area are Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto. Popular DOCG wines of Alba are Moscato, Barbaresco, and Barolo.
With the abundance of fine wine and white truffles the area is known for cultivating, it is safe to say that mealtime in Alba is almost always an indulgent treat!
Pack your bags and trade the routine of everyday life for a quintessential Italian adventure in Alba. Come ready to be mesmerized by the city’s natural beauty and to partake in some of the finest wine tastings available in all of Italy.
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