Alba (Ârba in Langhe dialect) is an Italian town of 31 394 inhabitants in the province of Cuneo in Piedmont. It is an important center of the Langhe area.


Monuments and places of interest

Civil architectures

City ​​Hall
It is in Piazza Risorgimento, the historic heart of the city; it is built on pre-existing Roman buildings. [citation needed] Inside, on the walls of the main staircase, some frescoes from the Church of San Domenico, among which a Pietà, dating back to the end of the 1300s, and an Adoration of the Magi stand out. In the council hall there are important paintings: a panel depicting the Virgin and Child, by Macrino d'Alba, dating back to 1501; an altarpiece with Madonna and Child between St. Joseph and St. Anna, the Concert, attributed to Mattia Preti.

Judicial office building
Located in the large Medford square, near the Palazzo delle Mostre e dei Congressi, it is in Langa stone, the work of architects Gabetti and Isola.

Via Cavour
It is one of the main arteries of the historic city centre; retains a typically medieval layout. On the left, in the small Piazza San Francesco, the former Palazzo del Tribunal, headquarters of the teaching institute, in the place on which the Church of San Francesco was erected. Along via Cavour there are the Casaforte Riva and the Loggia dei Mercanti, which consists of 3 large external arches, resting just below the street level, and other minor arches, which can be glimpsed in the basement.

Via Vittorio Emanuele
Always the main street of Alba; also called Via Maestra by the inhabitants of Alba; it starts from piazza Risorgimento and crosses the entire historical centre. It is an expression of different architectural styles, from medieval to liberty. At number 11 is Casa Fontana, characterized by a Renaissance frieze in terracotta tiles, which is articulated between the 1st and 2nd floor of the facade: players, ladies and knights can be observed dancing among garlands of flowers. There are also the Palazzo Serralunga and the Palazzo dei Conti Belli, at number 18.

The towers
Alba was known as the city of a hundred towers, all built in the 14th and 15th centuries; few remain (the best preserved are those between Piazza Risorgimento and Via Cavour); among those that remain, many have been lowered to the level of the roofs or incorporated into buildings.

In Via Calissano there is one of these towers, now lowered almost to the level of the adjacent roofs: Torre di Casa Chiarlone, with a base that rests at street level, adorned with a wooden door dating back to the 18th century.
Despite its imposing appearance, Palazzo Marro, which overlooks Piazza San Giovanni, is considered one of the hundred towers.

Calissano coffee
Caffè Calissano is a historic café located in the arcades of Piazza del Duomo. Founded in the second half of the 19th century by Luigi Calissano, owner of a distillery, it had clients such as Cesare Pavese, Beppe Fenoglio, Pinot Gallizio and champions of fistball, the city sport. In 1986, the architect Maurizio Saracco restored the Café and merged the areas of an adjacent room, where there is a seventeenth-century fresco.


Religious architecture

Church of San Giovanni Battista
Various works of art are kept in this church, including a Madonna with Child, dating back to 1377, by Barnaba da Modena;, an Adoration, by Macrino d'Alba, from 1508; a panel, from the Macrino workshop, depicting the Virgin and Child between Saint Augustine and Saint Lucia.

Cathedral/ Duomo
The cathedral of San Lorenzo is the main place of Catholic worship in Alba, the mother church of the diocese of the same name. The building, consecrated to San Lorenzo, has a remarkable series of aesthetic-architectural similarities with the contemporary Cathedral of Chieri: these similarities can be found in part in the structure of the Romanesque-Gothic school, but above all in the internal decorations; see, for example, the horizontal band decorations of the walls and pillars, the lobed pillars themselves, the blue color of the cross vaults.

The current cathedral of San Lorenzo was built between 1486 and 1517 at the behest of the bishop of Alba Andrea Novelli: taking possession of the diocese, in 1483, he had noticed the state of serious deterioration in which the cathedral was found and promoted its reconstruction. Of the ancient church, already existing in the 11th century, only the bell tower, the three portals and the portico of the facade and the crypt were kept; the other parts, unsafe, were demolished.

In 1577 and 1584, the cathedral received the apostolic visitation of the bishop of Bergamo Gerolamo Regazzoni first, then of the archbishop of Amalfi Giulio Rossino; both indicated the necessary interventions to adapt the church, and in particular its presbytery, to the dictates of the Council of Trent. In 1626, following two earthquakes, the cross vault of the central nave collapsed, which was replaced in 1652.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the cathedral underwent consolidation restoration and was equipped with new altars and chapels, including the altar dedicated to Saint Theobald and that of the Blessed Sacrament.

Between 1867 and 1872 the last reshaping of the building took place on a project by Edoardo Arborio Mella from Vercelli, with the direction of the works entrusted to the architect from Alba Giorgio Busca and then to the engineer Giuseppe Ferria for the completion of the facade in 1878.

In 1870, in place of the central monofora, a large circular rose window was opened. Starting from 1871, the fresco decorations of the vaults and walls were created by various artists. Between 2007 and 2009, the new presbytery was built at the foot of the staircase leading to the old one.

Church of San Domenico
On the small square near Via Calissano there is the Church of San Domenico, from the 1200s or 1300s[16], the restoration of which was resumed towards the end of the 70s, thanks to the interest of the "Famija Albèisa", which l has brought it back to its former glory. The church - although it is still consecrated and mass is celebrated there sporadically - is often the venue for exhibitions and concerts.

St Catherine's Church
Adjacent to the church of San Domenico; its construction, in Baroque style, dates back to the 18th century; the facade is divided, in the upper part, into 3 sections, with pilasters, arches, friezes and various symbols. The portal is in sandstone with an architrave and volutes.

Church of Santa Maria Maddalena
It is in via Vittorio Emanuele, almost opposite that of Santi Cosma e Damiano. It was, for a good part of the 18th century, useful to the Dominican Monastery; it was a destination for pilgrimages of the faithful, who went there to visit the remains of the Blessed Margherita of Savoy. The portal has 18 panels carved in walnut, the presbytery, the main altar, with an oval frame, inside which there is a painting of La Maddalena, the choir of the vault, frescoed with glimpses of Baroque architectural perspectives.

Church of Saints Cosma and Damiano
It is in via Vittorio Emanuele, close to that of Santa Maria Maddalena. It was built on the remains of Roman walls; of very ancient origin, it is mentioned for the first time in documents from the 1200s. In 1760 it was completely rebuilt, from the foundations, in Baroque style, based on a project by Carlo Emanuele Rangone di Montelupo. During the excavations, at a depth of about three meters, a black and white mosaic floor came to light, a bronze medallion with the effigy of the emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Churches of the 20th century
The Temple of San Paolo, on the homonymous square, built in 1925, based on a project by the architect Giuseppe Gallo; enriched, in the following years, by a cast bronze portal, the work of the sculptor Narciso Cassino.
church of Cristo Re, built in 1956 by the architect Dellapiana, with a rectangular plan, with a single nave and 2 side corridors.
Sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Moretta, built in 1905, thanks to the Josephan fathers of Asti, on a site where, previously, a small votive pillar had been built.

Other places and monuments of interest
Church of San Giuseppe, in via Vernazza
Hospital of San Lazzaro, built for the treatment of lepers and infectious patients.

Caleria Vacquer-Paderi Children's Hospital
In 1895 Luigi Vaquer–Paderi established, within the San Lazzaro Hospital of Alba, the Caleria Vacquer-Paderi Children's Hospital, where children of all nations could be treated from infectious diseases, in memory of his wife, daughter of the nobles Adolfo de Roberti, State Counselor of the Emperor of Russia, and Olga Noinskji of St. Petersburg. The Vaquer-Paderi and de Roberti-Noinskji donation, in addition to the children's hospital, included some scientific departments of the civil hospital; it turned out to be innovative, for the time, and concerned the city of Alba as the Vaquer-Paderi, of the Grenadier Brigade of Sardinia, while commanding the military square of Alba, lost his very young wife, to whom he also dedicated an infant school in Villanovafranca (CA ); together with her he was buried in the special graves of the Alba cemetery. In the Historical Archive of the San Lazzaro Civil Hospital in Alba, in addition to much material on the donation, there are reports of sick children hospitalized at the Ospedaletto in the years from 1910 to 1915


Getting here

By plane
The nearest airport is Cuneo Airport (IATA: CUF), about 50 km, but has few connections. The nearest international airports are Torino Airport (IATA: TRN) and Malpensa Airport (IATA: MXP).

By train
The train station in Alba is located in Piazza Trento Trieste, directly on Corso Fratelli Bandiera.

In the street
• FROM TURIN: Take the A6 / E717, direction MARENE / CHERASCO. Take the exit towards BRA - MARENE. Follow the SS231/E74/Via Bra towards ASTI/ALBA/CHERASCO/BRA/La Morra. In Bra continue on the SS231 and then on the SP3bis towards SAVONA / BAROLO / ALBA C.SO EUROPA. Take the exit towards Alba.

• FROM MILAN: Take the A7. Continue towards E70-A21 to Turin, take the exit towards ASTI EST / E74 - A33 - CUNEO. Continue towards SS231 - CUNEO - ALBA. Near Asti continue on the SS231/E74. Take the exit towards E74 / A33 Asti - CUNEO. Take the exit towards SAVONA / BAROLO / ALBA and take the exit towards Alba.

• From GENOA: Take the A7/E25 towards AUTOSTRADE. Continue towards E80 / A10 - VENTIMIGLIA / AIRPORT - A26 - ALESSANDRIA. Continue on A10 / E25 / E80. Take the exit towards A26 - A7 - ALESSANDRIA. Continue towards ALESSANDRIA OVEST - A21 - TURIN - PIACENZA. Continue towards TURIN - A21. Take the exit towards E74 Asti Est - A33 CUNEO. Continue towards SS231 - CUNEO - ALBA - SS436 - NICE - CANELLI - ACQUI TERME - SS457 - CASALE. Continue towards SS231 - ALBA - CUNEO - SS436 - ACQUI TERME. Follow direction SANTO STEFANO BELBO - SS231 - CUNEO - SS456 - ACQUI TERME - SS231 - ALBA. Take the exit towards E74 - A33 - CUNEO. Take the E74 / Asti-Cuneo motorway and take the exit towards A33 / E74 - CUNEO. Take the exit towards SAVONA / BAROLO / ALBA and take the exit towards ALBA.


Getting around

The old town can (and must) be explored on foot. There is also the Bicincittà bicycle rental system with four stations in the city center, the rental system operates daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.



Fiera Internazionale del tartufo bianco d'Alba. Alba is world famous for its white truffle and the festivities surrounding it represent the highlight of the year. They usually run from the beginning of October to mid-November with a focus on the weekends.
notte bianca delle librerie. Long Night of the Bookstores. On a Saturday evening in May, all of Alba's bookshops and libraries get together, stay open until midnight and organize numerous discussions, readings and other program items, some of them in the open air.



In the old town, the main shopping streets are Via Vittorio Emanuele II and Via Camillo Cavour as pedestrian zones, but be careful, most of the shops are closed on Mondays. A little further out on the road to Asti is the Albacenter, which mainly has a large grocery store. The shopping times from Mon to Sun from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. are particularly interesting here.



Intimately linked to the Langhe and Roero areas, Alba cuisine is expressed in simple dishes with a robust and decisive flavor.

Let's see what are some of the best typical dishes of Alba that you absolutely must not miss:
Tjarin with butter or Alba White truffle
Raw Albese meat
Ravioli del Plin
Gnocchi with Castelmagno
Barolo sausage
Cured meats and cheeses from the region
Vitello Tonnato
Braised in Barolo
Mixed cooked meat
Bagna Cauda
Hazelnut Bone Cake



Casa Scaparone, Località Scaparone. Phone: +39 0173-33946.



Ospedale San Lazzaro di Alba, Via Pierino Belli 26. Tel.: +39 0173 316111. The hospital is located on the outskirts of the city center and offers all the essential medical departments.


Physical geography

Located about 50 km south-east of Turin and as many north-east of Cuneo, Alba rises, for the most part, on the right bank of the Tànaro river, on a vast flat basin, about 170 meters above sea level, surrounded by hills, rich in vineyards, the Langhe and Roero.

It has a typically Po valley climate, with a slightly more pronounced summer drought than the lands north of the Po.



According to archaeological findings, the territory of Alba was already inhabited in the Neolithic period, between the 6th and 3rd millennium BC, by a permanent population, who lived on hunting and agriculture, lived in round-shaped huts, in a village, located in the area of ​​the current Borgo Piave, or grouped in a village on the left bank of the Cherasca stream, near the confluence with the Tànaro.

These inhabitants knew the working of ceramics and green stone, sharp and suitable for the first rudimentary tools; they also practiced cattle breeding.

In the following millennia they knew the use of iron and bronze and were classified with the nomen of Liguri Stazielli, a term that defines an ethnic group of Celtic origin assimilated, then, by the Gauls, invaders of this area, at the end of the fifth century BC.

Roman age
The origins of the town of Alba are certainly pre-Roman, probably Ligurian-Celtic.

The toponym is in fact typical of the Ligurian civilization and would mean "white city".

The city obtained the Roman imprimatur with the edict of the consul Gneo Pompeo Strabone and was baptized Alba Pompeia.

As a Roman municipium it was included in the Regio IX Liguria and ascribed to the Gens Camilia.

The various Roman finds show that in the first 2 centuries of the Alba empire, together with Pollenzo and Bene Vagienna, it formed a strategic and commercial triangle, creating urban structures of considerable interest, including the aqueduct, to convey the waters to the city, and the sewerage system for discharging wastewater into the Tanaro river.

The Roman dawn was administered independently, had its own magistracy, housed 5 orders of people: the decurions, the wealthiest citizens, the Augustals, knights, contractors and freedmen. Finally, the plebs, divided into a college of arts and crafts. In addition to the college of blacksmiths there were the centonari, manufacturers of wool and fabrics, the dendrogradi, who supplied timber for houses and ships.

All the historical material on the Roman era is kept at the "Federico Eusebio" Civic Museum of Natural Sciences and History.

The epigraphic and archaeological material of Alba Pompeia describes the life of a medium-high class, consistent in numbers, made up of both Roman gentes and descendants of Celto-Ligurian origin.

Agriculture and livestock farming were the main activities of an important part of the Alba Pompeia elite.

The historian Gaius Pliny the Second already describes the existence of an agricultural technique applied to viticulture, refined and evolved.

The city - surrounded, at the time by large polygonal walls - hosted the emperor Augustus on his way to Gaul and was the birthplace, in 126, of the emperor Pertinax.

Middle Ages
In the periods following the Roman domination, medieval walls were built: from the Gothic-Lombard ones to the post-Carolingian ones; after the Hungarian-Saracen invasions, other renovations took place during the municipal period. The urban perimeter remained unchanged until the modern era.

The history of Alba records the visit of San Dalmazzo, before 5 December 254, the date of his martyrdom, helped by San Giovanni Presbiterio in the conversion of the pagans.

San Frontiniano, a native of Carcassonne, also appears in Alba at the end of the third century: on his return from a pilgrimage to Rome he stops in Alba and frees a girl from the devil. The prefect of the city, strangely enraged, captures him at the exit of Alba and has him beheaded. The legacy of an ancient cultural tradition, which recognizes Saint Frontinian as protector of children, has led the mothers of sick children to walk around the church dedicated to the saint 9 times, begging for healing.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, in 490 the city was sacked by the Burgundians followed, in 640, by the Lombards of Rotari and the Franks of Charlemagne, who created the conditions for the development of feudalism.

Due to the devastation suffered and the looting, it was decided to choose the nearby town of Diano as the administrative seat because, thanks to its natural position, it was more difficult to conquer.


Subsequent raids by the Saracens impoverished the diocese of Alba to such an extent that it came to be suppressed and united with those of Asti and Savona.

The Hundred Towers
The medieval walls of the city represented a remarkable defense system: built on a base over 2 meters high, they were half a meter thick, were equipped with buttresses and towers, and were surrounded by a moat for their entire perimeter.

The city gates mirrored the access roads: Porta Tanaro to the north, Porta San Martino to the south, Porta del Soccorso or Porta Cherasca to the east, Porta San Biagio to the south-east, Porta Castello to the west. Each gate had one or two towers, for the guardhouse and for the toll collection officials.

Thanks to the territorial expansion of the municipality, Alba saw the formation of 7 "Camparie" and 6 castles, built to form a crown on the adjacent hills, with defensive functions.

In the same period monasteries, churches and 6 hospitals were built in the city. The San Lazzaro hospital was built for the treatment of lepers and infectious diseases. An ancient donation obliged to leave, every year, 2 money astesi, or a bushel of wine, to the poor sick. The Santo Spirito del Ponte hospital was located near Porta Tanaro and belonged to the Augustinian canons of the Ferrania abbey. The hospital of Sant'Antonio treated the diseases of the sacred fire, an epidemic disease, very widespread at the time. A fourth hospital, dedicated to San Marco, was located in the place where the Cottolengo was built. Owners were the Jerusalem friars or knights of the order of St. John of Jerusalem.

The coat of arms of Alba dates back to this period, showing a red cross on a silver field.

The alliance with Charles of Anjou
In 1259 Alba allied himself with Charles I of Anjou, managing to manage disputes with nearby Asti, but the period was full of rivalry and broken promises, between the Guelph and Ghibelline Solari families, who competed for dominance over the territory .

Asti became the "enemy" par excellence, interested in depriving Alba of dominion over the Tanaro Valley.

Emblem of the time are the towers, moreover used in prison. Some of them, with a square plan, prolong the typical medieval aspect of the city over time.

In the 12th century it became a municipality and joined the Lombard League.

Most of the towers were demolished in the 19th century; the municipal one was demolished in 1864; the material was used to make changes to the Duomo building.

From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment
The conflict between the French and the Spanish, in the first half of the 16th century, saw Alba as the scene of bloody clashes, a situation that worsened with the arrival in the city, in 1537, of Charles V. The history and chronicles of those years recorded numerous clashes between rival armies, with serious consequences on monuments and works of art, subject to devastation and looting.

After the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis in 1559, Alba was ceded to the Gonzagas of Mantua. It was a period of relative peace, even if it was a really difficult undertaking to remedy the devastation that had impoverished the territory.

Other damages were caused by some earthquakes, which occurred from 1541 to 1549.

When Francesco IV Gonzaga died, Alba was attacked by Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy, who placed it under siege, for the first time on 23 April 1613; but he managed to conquer it only on 1 April 1628, after alternating events of clashes and skirmishes with the Gonzagas.

The plague
Once the military operations ceased it was the turn of the plague. In 1630 the first symptoms began to appear, with a consequent demographic decline.

Thanks to the appointment as a province and the revival of fairs, festivals and markets - suspended for decades due to the most diverse and disparate calamities - a recovery was favored, which did not last long, also due to the interminable dynastic wars of the time.

The eighteenth century
This era saw a series of literary and artistic activities flourish, among which the Philharmonic-literary Academy, created by the canon Odella, stands out. This association could boast, during the 19th century, the adhesion of illustrious personalities, such as Silvio Pellico and Giovanni Prati.

New buildings were also built: the hospital of San Lazzaro, based on designs by the architect Di Robilant; the church of Santi Cosma e Damiano, rebuilt on the basis of a project by Count Carlo Emanuele Rangone of Montelupo; the church of Santa Maria Maddalena, based on designs by Vittone.


Thanks to a considerable cash outlay (3,000 silver lire), in 1742, the city was invested with the fief of Santa Rosalia with the title of "Countess of Santa Rosalia".

Thanks to letters written by Baron Giuseppe Vernazza to his friend and Count Guido Gaschi, scholar and archivist, an interesting vision of life in Alba emerges between 1779 and 1787. Vernazza - che. to obtain the baronial title, he spent good money, to the chagrin of his father - he observed the world of that era with the eye of the bourgeois, not attentive to the great events that were changing the Europe of the time. Vernazza himself, passionate about archeology, was the protagonist of an important discovery: the recovery, in the bed of the Tanaro, of a memorial stone sculpted by Caio Cornelio Germano and Valeria Marcella, an artifact kept in the Alba Museum.

French Revolution
At the end of the century the city experienced the French Revolution and was one of the first to advocate the Jacobin faith, proclaiming itself a republic and welcoming the entry of Napoleon Bonaparte on April 28, 1796.

The French adventure was short-lived, provoking some mourning, desecrating works of art and historic buildings; for example, the gothic church of San Domenico was converted into a stable.

The city was asked to contribute 123,000 lire at the time to the military expenses of the French; disproportionate amount, for the finances of the city, so Alba sent 2 ambassadors to discuss the provision, but one was shot.

The aforementioned ordinances to contribute to the maintenance costs of the French army, combined with the looting of works of art, physical violence against the population and, above all, the introduction of compulsory conscription - for young people over the age of 19 , to be enlisted in the Napoleonic Army (which deprived the families of the arms indispensable to work in the fields) - exasperated the population and induced many Albesi (as had happened in other places in the Langhe) to abandon the city and merge into the formations of insurgents, so-called barbets, who tried to counter the abuses committed by the army from beyond the Alps.

Nineteenth century
The reconstruction of the city, after the devastation of the French Revolution, was begun by Carlo Felice di Savoia, who led to the construction of the Monastery of the Maddalena, also providing for the rearrangement of the road that connected Alba to Savona, passing through Cortemilia. The urban planner and architect Giorgio Busca was the architect of this project and of a series of buildings: the Teatro Sociale, Palazzo Miroglio, Via Roma and Piazza Savona. Busca also held the office of mayor, between 1861 and '65; saw the affirmation of the nascent bourgeoisie, traders, technicians, professionals who, after 1848, gradually occupied public offices, giving impetus to numerous forms of Mutual Aid Societies, including the one that, founded in 1851, brought together artists and workers .

Twentieth century
After the First World War, without enthusiasm the city coexisted with Fascism, undertaking successful trade fairs.

The còche - groups of young people - were the initiators, in controversy with the Palio of Asti, of a competition between donkeys.

The Truffle Fair was born in 1929 at the behest of the entrepreneur Giacomo Morra.

Alba, during the Second World War was proclaimed an "independent republic". For 23 days (from 10 October to 2 November 1944) it was the first partisan republic established in Italy, obtaining a gold medal for military valor, for the intense partisan activity, told by the writer Beppe Fenoglio.

During the Second World War, in the period of the German occupation and of the Italian Social Republic, the marshal of the carabinieri of Alba, Carlo Ravera, saved from deportation numerous families of Jewish refugees, residing there in forced domicile since the end of August 1942. Instead to proceed with their arrest, according to the orders received on 2 December 1943, he favored their escape, with the help of his wife and Beatrice Rizzolio, owner of the local mill. For this commitment of solidarity, on January 23, 1975, the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem conferred the high honor of the Righteous among the Nations on Marshal Carlo Ravera, his wife Maria Ravera and Beatrice Rizzolio.

In 1948 and, above all, in November '94, violent floods, caused by the Tanaro and some of its tributaries, devastated some areas of the city.