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Mmmm, delicious Alba, capital of white truffles, white peaches, dark chocolate and dark wine. Surrounded by vineyards growing the dark grapes which will eventually grace your bottle of Barolo, hazelnut groves, orchards and lush vegetable patches, this old Roman town is as much a feast for the eyes as the tongue. In addition to some of the charming restaurants with rooms and B&Bs in the oldest part of town, some of the best places to stay in Alba are actually in the Langhe Hills which roll around the town.
As well as admiring the Roman ruins, Alba has much to share with anyone who can drag themselves away from the generous wine tastings or long lunches.
There's the 14th and 15th Century towers, the Romanesque Cathedral, the Gothic church of San Domenico with its wonderful artworks, the Baroque church of St. John the Baptist and the cultural treasures of the Centro Culturale San Giuseppe, where there are regular choral and chamber concerts.
There's also a local archaeological museum.
Don't forget that if you want to visit in truffle season, the best places to stay in Alba are nigh on impossible to book last minute, so plan well ahead.
In Alba's historic centre
- The Palazzo Finati is a charming, four room B&B just a few minutes from the very centre of Alba. Rooms are spacious, elegant and quiet - the B&B is on a peaceful backstreet, and the property also hosts contemporary art exhibitions.
For rural peace
- The Casa Pavesi is a pretty,19th Century house turned small hotel. Its rooms are elegant, with nice details, like four poster beds, and they have beautiful views of the Langhe Hills. Large gardens surround the property and breakfast is served on a charming sun terrace overlooking them.
- The Castello di Sinio is even grander - a castle, set amongst its own vineyards. And as well as offering wine tastings the hotel also arranges cheese tastings, chocolate tastings and truffle hunting - so it's great for foodies. And also anyone who appreciates antiques, exposed beams and stone floors.
Best Hotels in Alba
Cascina Barac 10 rooms from $120Alba (Cuneo), Piedmont
An agrotourism property sitting pretty amongst rolling hills covered in vineyards. Traditionally decorated with warm terracotta hues, antique furniture and delicately draped windows. Gourmet regional cuisine to order. Wines coming from the farm itself and truffles to be found. A foodie's paradise.Foodies - Alba is a haven for food enthusiasts as it grows white-truffles, hazlenuts and is brimming with vineyards.Country Escape - A revamped farmhouse ideal to unwind in comfort, amidst the vineyards, with a glass of wine.Great walks - Take long relaxing walks through the surrounding vineyards.Remote - Off the beaten track.
Villa la Favorita 7 rooms from $143Alba
A delightful country hotel just outside Alba, exuding rustic charm from every pore. The ornate rooms are characterful and comfortable with great views of the surrounding vineyards. Enjoy a hearty breakfast of quiche, freshly baked cakes and local meats and cheeses. A wondrous country retreat.Foodies - The on site farm produces its own Nebbiolo wine and organic fruit, such as cherries, figs and pomegranates.Great walks - Beautiful walks around the hotel, including a 40km route called the 'Honey Road'.Cooking classes - Piedmont cooking classes are on offer at the hotel.Romantic - Good for couples.
Casa Pavesi 12 rooms from $160Grinzane Cavour, Piedmont
Pretty hotel in 19th century house. Elegant rooms feature four poster beds, wooden floors and views of Langhe Hills. Large gardens and sun terrace where breakfast is served. Great value, superb location with plenty to do.Local exploring - Dozens of cycling trails, wine tasting, historic castles and traditional eateries near this charming hotelSights nearby - Grinzane Cavour and its castleRomantic - Good for couples.Great walks - Good for walkers.
Castello di Sinio 18 rooms from $189Piedmont
A delightful castle hotel set amongst vineyards. Modern rustic style with wooden beams, antique furniture and stone floors. Lovely gardens with herb plants, jasmine and bubbling fountains. Sweeping views, excellent Umbrian cuisine. A great choice for couples and gastronomy fans.Foodies - Extensive vineyard and wine tasting tours, cheese tasting, chocolate tasting, truffle hunting and various annual food festivalsRomantic Break - Stunning Baroque chuch and belltower sitting atop a medieval village and sweeping views of forest and vineyardsSights nearby - Sinio, Serralunga, Alba, La Morra and Monforte D'AlbaLocal markets - Food markets in Alba, Dogliani, Asti
Palazzo Finati 4 rooms from $171Alba
A lovely little B&B set on a quiet backstreet moments from the centre of Alba. Charming rooms and suite have lots of space, elegant furnishings, and all the mod cons. The hotel hosts contemporary art exhibitions. Breakfast in the basement and walking distance to all the attractions.Outstanding location - Located on a quiet backstreet but moments from the city centre.Sights nearby - Piazza del Duomo, the town main square.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Fodors