Alba Things to Do Tips by JLBG
Alba Things to Do: 22 reviews and 45 photos
Not far from de hospital, a pretty little house stands on a tiny square, almost a widened street crossing. Though in the very city center, it has a small yard with a few trees. The green of the trees makes a pleasant contrast with the pink of the house. It must be very pleasant to live in this house !
In a small street, somewhere between Via Roma and via Cavour stands a huge grayish building. On top of the main entrance, a sign says “Ospedale civico di San Lazzaro” (Saint Lazare Civilian Hospital). It should have been built at the end of the 19th century and I swear that this is not the kind of place where you would want to spare your holidays !
Via Roma is perpendicular to Via Vittorio Emanuele, or better to Piazza Savona. It seems to have built at the end of the 19th century. The part closer to Piazza Savona is lined with portici with thick square pillars in a more or less Greek inspired style (first photo). The second part is of a different style, with more elegant circular tall columns. Anyway in both parts, the houses are obviously wealthy as the design of the wooden doors (third photo) shows.
I should have said that Via Vittorio Emanuele II was a pedestrian only street, as most of the old city. In side streets, inhabitants can park their car but it is only for those that live there. Not all the houses along the street date from the Middle Ages. Some are built in an Art Deco style, such as those shown on the second photo. Enlarge to see better the concrete molding of the balconys.
Il cortile della Maddalena is a wide, enclosed place (entrance shown on the first photo), now owned by the city and used for all the important events. During the Truffle fair, it hosted the exhibition of local cheeses and sausages for sale.
The second photo shows the display "Fiera Nazionale del tartufo bianco d'Alba" (Alba's White truffle National Fair).
The third photo shows a strange "sculpture" on display in the Cortile.
Monastero di Santa Maria Maddalena (Monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene) stands at the corner of via Vittorio Emanuele and via Parruza. Unfortunately, we could see only the outside as the inside was under repair. The second photo shows the angle with via Parruza, the third shows the whole front of the church (as much as the narrow streets allows) and the fourth is a close up on the décor of the front. It was built in the first half of the 18th in a baroque style, on designs of the architect Bernardo Vittone in place of a previous one which was an annex of the Dominican monastery.
At one end of Piazza Savone stands the fierce statue of a man with a sword on a frisky horse. A marble slab says it represents the General Giuseppe Govone (1825-1872) and was erected in 2004. Another sign adds that the statue has been cast in bronze from the original statue and given to the city of Alba thanks to the "Cassa di Rispiarmio di Cuneo" (Saving Bank of Cuneo). General Count Giuseppe Govone, born in Alba, was nicknamed "Cuore di Pietra" (Stone-hearted) because of an ill advised youthful deception, He was the head of both the armed forces and the secret services.
At the Piazza Savone end of via Vittorio Emanuele flows a fountain and a large banderole is stretched across the street. The first photo, taken from via Vittorio Emanuele, shows Piazza Savone and a more modern part of the town. The second photo is taken from Piazza Savone and shows the whole length of via Vittorio Emanuele, with several "torre". The third is a close-up on the banderole that announces a special exhibition from October 29th 2005 (not yet open !) to February 27th 2006 on Napoleon and Piedmont, with new master pieces being found. That should be interesting ! May be we will come back to visit it as it is only a 300 km drive from home !
On via Vittorio Emanuele, at the corner with via Vittorio Belli, stands a building with an unusual feature, that has almost a Moorish look. It is build with red bricks and yellow bricks, used to make a design. Its basement is a luxury shop, "Salmoraghi & Vigano". It might be il Palazzo dei Conti Belli (the Palace of the Belli Counts), built in the Middle Ages, which would make sense as it is in front of via Vittorio Belli !
All the medieval towers standing in Alba were built along one of the two major streets of the old city. That makes sense as they were home and stronghold to the wealthiest families of the city. You will not find any in smaller streets. What you see on the left of the photo is the bell tower of a small chapel.
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