Whether or not you want to taste the extraordinary wines, Alba is worth the visit for its alluring mix of red-brick medieval towers, Baroque and Renaissance palaces and cobbled streets. And if you come in early October, you might catch the town’s hilarious annual donkey race – a skit on nearby Asti’s prestigious Palio.
The town’s only sight as such is its late-Gothic Duomo, standing confectionery-pink on the central Piazza Risorgimento. But Alba is primarily a place to stroll and eat. Leading up to the centre from Piazza Savona, the main drag of Via Vittorio Emanuele is a fine, bustling street, with Alba’s local produce on display – wines, truffles, cheeses, weird and wonderful mushroom varieties, and the wickedly sticky nocciola, a nutty, chocolatey cake. Via Cavour is a pleasant medieval street, behind which the donkey race and displays of medieval pageantry attract the crowds during the October festival. There’s also an annual truffle festival later in the month, when you could blow your whole budget on a knobbly truffle or a meal in one of the many swanky restaurants. At the end of April/beginning of May, the Vinum wine festival gives you the chance to taste five hundred local wines.
Top image: Town of Alba from surrounding hills in Piedmont © Rostislav Glinsky/Shutterstock