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Alba Things to Do Travel Guide

The city of Alba is a beautiful town in northeastern Italy that is so picturesque it could easily resemble a picture from a storybook. The historic downtown center of Alba is surrounded by miles of rolling green hills where vineyards flourish and majestic mountains rise up further in the distance. Whether you enjoy celebrating, eating, taking in culture, adventuring, or participating in wine tastings, the enchanting city of Alba is a fabulous place to visit.

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS IN ALBA

Festivals and celebratory events in Alba are fairly varied as the city celebrates everything from international film festivals, wine and music festivals, and food festivals to celebrations rooted in history.

An exciting event for early spring that usually occurs around the second half of March is the Alba International Film Festival. This gathering is to highlight first run and repertory films categorized by theme and acting. Although cinematography is still up and coming in Alba, there are some celebrities such as American actor George Clooney, who actively support many Italian film festivals. You never know who you might see if attending.

On the weekends during the month of April, a fabulous wine and music festival called The Vinium takes place. This is one of the best area events for wine lovers and connoisseurs. The way the festival works is that participants are asked to purchase a wine glass and use it to sample wines from hundreds of producers. If the wine alone is not enough to lift your mood, pair it with the jazz music often floating through the air for a truly relaxing experience.

Speaking of jazz music, usually during the months of May, June, and July, the city is home to the Alba Music Festival. The event is a collaborative effort of the city and St. Mary’s College in Maryland to showcase world renowned performers in a number of various venues, such as historical churches as well as auditoriums. Perhaps the best thing about the Alba Music Festival is that the concerts are typically free to the public.

The city offers some of the best selections of white truffles in the world, so it seems only fitting that the city host the International White Truffle Fair of Alba each October. During this event, all things truffle are celebrated and vendors typically sell anything truffle-related, from the fungi itself to extravagantly flavored oils, vinegars, and more. This event is widely attended by locals and tourists and it is not uncommon to see Italian celebrities in the crowd here.

Also occurring in October is The Palio Degli Asini which is a donkey race of sorts. This traditional event of an estimated eighty years or more is beloved by locals who cheer madly for the donkey racing for and representing their particular city district. To be given the title of winner at The Palio Degli Asini is a matter of civic pride and one that is not taken lightly.

OUTDOOR

Weather permitting, one of the most charming activities in Alba is to set aside time to leisurely stroll the city. As you wander, stop at a quaint little café and enjoy a hot cup of coffee as you take in the enchanting ambiance of this adorable town.

As you make your way through Alba, consider periodically stopping at some of the city’s historical churches. Some of the religious landmarks not to be missed here include the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo of Alba, Chiesa di San Domenico, and Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista. Each is beautiful in its own right and has an enchanting history behind the exterior structure and interior art.

INDOOR

The F. Eusebio Municipal Museum of Archaeology and Natural Science is the perfect way to spend some time indoors. This museum is home to roughly two thousand artifacts from the Neolithic and Roman eras. Take your time browsing these amazing archaeological finds and be sure not to miss the zoology and geology areas.

In the heart of the city, the Palazzo Comunale has several rare art displays. The main artistic draws of this historical city hall structure are artist Macrino d’Alba’s sixteenth century portrait of the Virgin and artist Mattia Preti’s Concertino.

FAMILY

If visiting the city of Alba on a sunny Saturday, do not miss the opportunity to visit the market. Once a week on Saturday, the Alba market opens to the public. The event is attended by farmers, merchants, and vinters hoping to attract shoppers to their booths. As you and the family wander this open air market, expect to find a wide variety of delicious foods including homemade bread, cheese, salami, truffles, wine, and so much more.

KIDS

Wandering the streets of Alba is a fantastic way to spend time with the kids. A walk through some of the busier streets in downtown is a wonderful way to soak up the local culture while also being an upscale food sampling experience.

Many street vendors sell foods here that are celebrated in this region, such as a pasta served with truffle called tajarin, a nut and chocolate filled candy called gianduia, roasted hazelnuts, and more. White truffles can usually be found here as well, but are generally offered for purchase and not for sampling.
Perhaps the children could eat their way through Alba, all by visiting one delightfully busy street market.

UNIQUE IN ALBA

It is possible that Alba’s biggest draw for visitors lies just outside the heart of the city, atop the gently rolling green hills. The largely rural area that surrounds the city is estimated to be home to numerous vineyards and hundreds of fabulous wineries. This northeastern land of wine, often referred to as the Langhe area, is simply gorgeous in almost any weather.

As beautiful as the land and vineyards are, the wine that they produce is some of the most coveted in the world. When visiting Alba, the wine becomes part of the full dining experience and is often an ingredient in first and second courses, desserts, and even as a standalone complement to the meal.

During your stay in Alba spend a day or two taking buses out to various wineries to admire the vineyards, learn about the wine making process, and then blissfully sample some of the finest wines in all of Italy.