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.
Grinzane 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.
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.
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.