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A once-powerful city-state whose centre sported more than 100 towers, Alba is considered the capital of the Langhe, and has big-city confidence and energy while retaining all the grace and warmth of a small rural town. Alba's considerable gastronomic reputation comes courtesy of its white truffles, dark chocolate and wine. Its annual autumn truffle fair draws huge crowds and the odd truffle-mad celebrity. The vendemmia (grape harvest) remains refreshingly local and low key, if ecstatic in its own way.

The vine-striped Langhe Hills radiate out from the town like a giant undulating vegetable garden, replete with grapes, hazelnut groves and wineries. Exploring Alba's fertile larder on foot or with two wheels is a delicious pleasure.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Alba.