A living city

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Tourist city, not only for its monuments, but for the enhancement it gives to food and wine, a sector that attracts people from all over the world.

Although it has around 31,000 inhabitants, it is home to companies such as Ferrero, the Miroglio textile industry, Famiglia Cristiana and all the publications of San Paolo, La Mondo, a multinational of balloons, leader in sports flooring. Furthermore, the poor peasants of the Langhe have turned into entrepreneurs and merchants of wine and products of the earth. The Ceretto family, known throughout the world for their Arneis (Blangé), and Pio Cesare are the most important names in Alba’s wine.

Fairs and events

The economic and moral capital of the Langhe, Alba is also a wine and truffle capital. The great reds that are produced in its territory or in the neighbouring areas find the maximum prominence in the city. It is not in fact a case that every year in the second half of April there is “Vinum“, an event dedicated to wine production, with considerable reference to the last vintage ready for consumption. The wines can be tasted and purchased and conventions and folkloristic events are also organized.

Another essential appointment is the National Truffle Fair which takes place in October and is dedicated to the precious underground mushroom that can be tasted in many restaurants in the area.

The Truffle Fair began in 1929 as a “Trade Fair Exhibition with awards from the renowned truffles of the Langhe”. Soon it became very important that special trains were organized from Turin, Genoa and Milan to reach Alba. The Italian and foreign press also began to deal with the event. In 1993 the event officially took the name of Truffle Fair which it still preserves today. Since 1962, the National Truffle Fair has been taken over by the municipal administration which manages it with the appointment of a special organizing committee which is today headed by the Alba, Bra, Langhe and Roero Tourist Board.

The Palio of the donkeys is the prologue to the Truffle Fair and every year this event mixes the historical, accurate and precise re-enactment, with the events of the past and the race of the donkeys. The Palio, that is the race itself, is preceded by a very accurate re-enactment with a wealth of costumes and a long parade of characters, who for a day will bring the Alba area back to breathe the air of the Middle Ages. The origins of the singular competition are very ancient. On 10th August 1275, the day on which the Alba inhabitants celebrated their patron San Lorenzo, the inhabitants of Asti, with whom they had been at war for some time, reappeared near the city and did damage in the surroundings. Then they came under the walls and, since it was the feast of San Lorenzo they ran the Palio as they did during the feast of their patron in Asti. The gesture symbolised that by now the inhabitants of Asti considered Alba an enemy. The Alba inhabitants did not easily digest the mockery and took revenge years later going to win the same Palio of Asti. The Palio degli Asini was born in 1932: it was decided to run it using donkeys instead of horses to play down and diminish the affront occurred in 1275. If the race is unpredictable and fun and the victory entrusted exclusively to chance, it is very austere and serious the historical commemoration to which over 500 costumed characters take part. Nine hamlets are the contenders for the drapery painted every year by a different painter: the Borgo di San Lorenzo, the noble quarter par excellence, the Borgo di San Martino, which takes its name from one of the access gates to the city, the Borgo del Brichet, whose name derives from a mound in the centre of the square or from the existence of a sulphur processing industry; the Borgo dei Patin and del Tesor, a district known for the economic solidity of its inhabitants and for its attachment to the most humble jobs; the Borgo delle Rane, populated mainly by fishermen, in which there were numerous taverns frequented by the militia; the Borgo del Fumo, towards the countryside where there were numerous furnaces; the Borgo della Moretta in the direction of Diano, with a rich tradition of horse racing, the Borgo di Santa Barbara that led to the Langa of Como of the old road of Rodello and San Cassiano.

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Here you will find our recommendations on food and wine in the city.