One of my favorite under-the-radar destinations in Italy is Alba. It’s a gorgeous city in the Cuneo province, only about two hours from Milan. Known for their white truffles and wine, keep reading to learn everything you need to know to have an amazing trip to this charming town!
Alba, Italy Travel Guide
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Traveling to Alba, Italy: What to Know
Getting to Alba
The best way to get to Alba from the US is by flying into Milan (MXP). We rented a car in Milan and took a road trip, winding through the vineyard-lined roads. It’s a beautiful 2-hour drive!
You can also catch a train from Milan’s city center that will take you through Turin. It leaves every hour and takes about three hours. Taking a train is a great way to sit back and relax while taking in the views!
If you’re coming from elsewhere in Italy, you can hop on a cheap flight to Cuneo on RyanAir and then take a short train ride. You can also take a bus from Milan, but there are a lot of bus changes and stops to deal with. I suggest either renting a car or arriving by train!
Top Things To Do in Alba, Italy
Hunt for Truffles
Alba is home to the fittingly named Alba white truffles, one of the rarest and most expensive foods in the world. It’s not a complete trip to Alba without going hunting for truffles. The location of white truffles is top secret and only the best hunters can find them. Book a truffle hunting tour to head out on a truffle hunt with some of the best and most experienced guides.
Go from October to December to visit the Alba White Truffle Fair! There are workshops on the history and culture of white truffle hunting, tastings from some of the best chefs in the world, and more truffles than you ever thought imaginable!
Here are some of the top-rated tours:
Visit a Tartufi
Don’t want to get down and dirty for a truffle hunt? You can still enjoy the local delicacy at a local Tartufi (truffle shop). You’ll bump elbows with some of the best French chefs in the world as they procure truffles for that day’s dinner menu! You can grab your own if you want to splurge.
If you can only visit one Tartufi, make sure it’s Tartufi Morra. They’re the OGs for truffle shopping in Alba and offer a wide range of white truffle products for every shopper. We bought truffle salt and I couldn’t recommend it more highly.
Visit a Winery
Alba is known first for their truffles and second for their wine. There’s over 300 wineries in the Alba region, most of them being family owned dating back hundreds of years.
Head out on a wine tour to ensure you taste the full spectrum of Alba’s offerings without having to plan it yourself. Save an entire day to just enjoy yourself because, in addition to delicious wines, the views from the wineries are gorgeous — like the photo above from our visit to Rivetto Winery!
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato
This UNESCO World Heritage site is made up of five different wine-growing areas known for their beautiful landscapes and delicious vintages, including Castello di Grinzane Cavour (read below for more information on the castle). With five distinct areas of wine-making, you could spend a few days touring around the local vineyards to see what makes each area special and unique. It’s one of the prettiest places ever, so the wine is just icing on top!
Have Lunch in a Castle
Live your Cinderella fantasy at Castello di Grinzane Cavour! It’s a stunning castle from the 11th century that overlooks the famed Langhe hills dotted with local vineyards.
They serve gourmet dishes from the Alba region perfectly paired with local wines at Marc Lanteri RIstorante, the Castle’s Michelin starred restaurant. Reservations are required and can be difficult to get, so plan ahead of time.
Explore the Town
Alba is a charming small town, which makes it a delight to stroll down the historic cobblestone streets. It’s beautiful enough to just enjoy a nice walk through the meandering roads and alleyways, but I recommend checking these places out to get a full picture of the history and culture of Alba:
Piazza Risorgimento and Via Caviar
Alba used to be called ‘the city of a hundred towers’ because of all of the buildings with towering spires in the city center. Sadly, most of them are gone because of earthquake damage and lack of maintenance. The best place to see the most preserved ones are between Piazza Risorgimento and Via Cavour. Some of the remaining towers have been lowered to roof level, but it’s still a very pretty walk.
Church of San Giovanni
Stop by the Church of San Giovanni to visit the second oldest church in Alba. It has beautiful artwork, unique architecture, and storied history. It’s been beautifully maintained, so make sure to pause your walk to admire its beauty before heading on your way.
Alba Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Piazza Risorgimento
Located right in the city center of Alba, the Cathedral of San Lorenzo is the oldest church in Alba, dating back to the early 12th century. The inside of the cathedral is beautiful, with ornate furniture and amazing antique artwork.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
Not only is Alba known for their truffles and wine… it’s also the birthplace of Ferrero Rocher and Nutella!! You can’t visit the actual factory, but the chocolatey-hazelnutty perfection is everywhere. If you walk by their factory in the town center, you can even smell chocolate wafting in the air. Most cafes have Nutella in stock, so order a coffee and ask them to add a bit of Nutella for an unforgettable Alba specialty!
Half-Day Trip to Barolo
If you rented a car, a small day trip to Barolo is a great way to see even more of the famed Piedmont area. You can also take a quick bus ride from Alba-Barolo. Once you’re in Barolo, another town famous for its high-quality wine, you can book a wine tour. You’ll taste wines, hear the history of the wineries in the region from a local, and take in the beautiful views of the vineyards.
If you’re not looking to spend the day on the go, you can still taste all of the wonderful wines of the Barolo region at Enoteca Regionale Barolo. It’s a tasting room run by the city of Barolo where you can taste 16+ different local wines all from the coziness of the local castle.
The best way to spend the rest of your time in Barolo is strolling through town. It’s full of picturesque cobblestone alleys, where cars are not allowed. Stop into any of their local restaurants and you’ll be sure to find a tasty meal!
Explore Other Towns Nearby Alba
There are so many gorgeous little towns dotted along the Piedmont area of Italy. Renting a car means you’ll have the freedom to explore all of them on your own time! Here are some of the cutest towns near Alba:
Only about an hour away from Alba is the jewel of the Lower Sun Valley, Avigliana. It’s a medieval town with amazing architecture and beautiful mountain views. Make sure to check out the Avigliana Castle, Sacred of San Michele, and Avigliana Lake Natural Park!
Canale di Tenno
This cute and small wine town is only 20 minutes from Alba, making it a super easy day trip! Of course, you have to visit the local wineries and tasting rooms. A great way to enjoy the scenery in a different way is on a bike! Rent an e-bike (for easier uphills) in Alba and take them to ride through the less busy roads of Canale di Tenno.
For a gorgeous day spent lakeside, Cannero Riviera is a perfect choice! It’s a classic riviera-style town, with beautiful buildings hugging the coastline and views of the bright blue lake for miles. With a warmer climate come fresh fruits like citrus, perfect for garnishing your drink at lunch! It’s seriously beautiful and well worth the two-hour drive from Alba.
The capital of the Piedmont region with stunning mountain vistas, amazing museums and cultural sites, and some of the best food in Italy, Turin is a must-visit if you’re in the Piedmont area! Tour royal residencies, visit the National Cinema Museum, or hit the slopes in the nearby Italian Alps!
Hot Air Balloon Tour
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to take in the beautiful views of the UNESCO World Heritage site from your vineyard tours or drives through the countryside. However, the best way to really admire the magnificent views is in the air!
Truffle Hunting Alba also offers hot air balloon tours that will give you a whole new perspective of the Piedmont area. With your balloon ride, you’ll get an aperitivo and local wines, photos, a tour guide, and transportation to and from your hotel. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Piedmont Cooking Class
When you’re staying in a place so known for its food, you’ll want to discover the behind-the-scenes magic that makes your favorite dishes a reality. Take a private cooking class to learn how to cook classic Piedmontese dishes like pasta with truffles, hazelnut cake, and more!
Splurge on Piazza Duomo
Of course, do your best to book a table ahead of time as they book up quickly. If you’re already in Alba, you can try your luck as they sometimes have next-day openings. It’s right in the city center, so even if you can’t snag a table, take a walk by!
Best Places to Eat + Drink in Alba, Italy
Highest Rated Restaurants:
Here is a list of the highest-rated + best restaurants in Alba, Italy:
Where to Stay in Alba, Italy
Rivetto Suites - Alba B&B
That’s the lowdown on the incredible town of Alba! If you’re looking for a culinary-focused vacation, a relaxed tour of some of Italy’s best wines, or a quiet retreat to a town without many tourists, Alba is a great choice! If you have a question feel free to leave a comment below or send me a DM on Instagram!
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