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In the region of Piemonte, the town of Alba attracts a healthy number of tourists due to its cobbled streets, which are embellished by a backdrop of Renaissance and Baroque buildings. The town also boasts medieval towers and inviting restaurants, as well as an endearing annual donkey race.
Situated on the central Piazza Risorgimento is the Gothic Duomo, which still retains some of its historical integrity although it has seen some heavy restoration. Visitors flock to the town in early October to see the unusual donkey race, which kicks off at a meeting place behind the Via Cavour.
Alba is definitely the perfect location for lazy strolling. Via Vittorio Emanuele, the main drag, stretches to the centre from Piazza Savona. It is at times a frenzied street, with the locals selling produce, including: wines, truffles, cakes, cheeses and all manner of mushrooms. April and May are the wine tasting months; while late October is host to the truffle festival.
If you want to taste exemplary Albese cuisine, then head to the excellent Osteria dell'Arco. Situated at Piazza Savona 5, this pleasant and affordable restaurant serves typical local dishes and also has a particularly fine selection of local cheeses.
If you are fortunate enough to be in the area with your own transport, then a trip to the quaint village of Neive, located about 13kms north of Alba, is a must. Il Contea restaurant at Piazza Cocito 8, offers superlative food and some of the best Barbaresco, Dolcetto and Barolo wines from the nearby vineyards. It also has comfortable rooms with antique beds and whitewashed walls, in case you want to stay the night.
The only downside to the charming town of Alba is the fact that it’s so hard to get to. The best way is to arrive in Torino and take the Torino-Piacenza highway to Asti, and then follow signs for Alba. You can get to Torino by air, bus or train.