Hello Callie - and Mark,
A quick line to say Yes, Yes - do enjoy Alba and the
surrounding towns and villages. It is a wonderful part of
the world and refreshingly un-touristy, compared with many
other parts of the country.
I have spent time also in Cuneo, not a tourist centre at all
but a very pleasant place to use as a base for touring the
area, and somewhere you definitely feel just part of
everyday life in Piemonte. A special part of the day was
sampling a different bar/coffee shop for a morning espresso,
a bite to eat to keep the energy levels up, and an aperitivo
in the evening. So many of these quite tiny places have
their own pastrycook to supply the nibbles and the quality
of the pastries is super.
There are also several good restaurants, and if you are
likely to be in that part of the world, Callie, I will check
out my records when I can find a moment, and pass the names
on to you.
Alba, of course, has the grand Truffle Festival in October
and there are similar festivals all over the region. Cuneo's
speciality is chestnuts and their Chestnut Festival is also
held in October and is good fun, with festivities every
evening, giant roasting pans for the chestnuts, banquets
featuring chestnuts in every imaginable - and a few
previously unimaginable - mode.
Torino, I found to be a delightful surprise. There is a
guide book that sets out self conducted walking tours of the
town, that gives you a great way to see the attractions and
to learn something of the history. I found it at the
booksellers/newsagency at the central station in Torino but
haven't seen it elsewhere.
And the wines of the region are, of course, superb.