For the ecclesiastical history, see Roman Catholic Diocese of Alba Pompeia
Alba's origins date from before the Roman civilization, connected probably to the presence of Celtic and Ligurian tribes in the area.
The modern town occupies the site of ancient Alba Pompeia, the name given after being officially recognized as a town by the Roman consul Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo while constructing a road from Aquae Statiellae (Acqui) to Augusta Taurinorum (Turin). Alba was the birthplace of Publius Helvius Pertinax, briefly Roman emperor in 193.
After the fall of the Western Empire, the city was repeatedly sacked by Ostrogoths, Burgundians, Byzantines, Lombards, Franks, Hungarians and Saracens. In the 11th century it became a free commune (or city-state) and was a member of the Lombard League. Montferrat and the Visconti fought over the town; later it became a possession of the Gonzaga. Charles Emmanuel I of Savoy conquered it twice, while later France and Spain battled for its possession. The Treaty of Cherasco (1631) assigned Alba definitively to Savoy. During Napoleonic Wars, it was part of the Republic of Alba (1796) and of the Subalpine Republic, both French clients, before being annexed to the French Empire in 1802. It was an arrondissement center in firstly Tanaro department between 1802-1805, later in Stura one between 1805-1814 before liberation by Austrian troops. It was returned to Kingdom of Sardinia (Duchy of Savoy's name after gaining Sardinia in 1720) in 1814.
Alba won a Gold Medal for Military Valour for the heroic activity of its citizens in the Italian resistance movement during the course of World War II. On 10 October 1944, the town was liberated by partisans who established a Republic of Alba which for a few weeks was able to maintain its independence from the Fascist Republic of Salò. The republic lasted to 2 November 1944, when Republic of Salo retook it. It was finally liberated by French troops on 2 May 1945.
Of the Roman city, which had a polygonal form, parts of the fortified gate and remains of some edifices with marble and mosaics can still be seen.
Other attractions include:The Palazzo Comunale (13th century, housing a Nativity by Macrino d'Alba of 1501) and the Bishop's Palace.
Some towers of the 14th and 15th centuries: Alba was once known as the "City with hundred towers".
the Romanesque Alba Cathedral of San Lorenzo (Duomo), built in the 12th century, probably over holy edifices of Roman age. It was restructured in the 15th century, by bishop Andrea Novelli, and again in the following centuries. The current appearance is from the controversial restoration of the 19th century, of which the three portals and the crypt are from the original edifice. The church is well known for its wood-carved chorus made in 1512 by Bernardino Fossati. The current belfry, from the 12th century, includes entirely the original bell tower.
The Gothic church of San Domenico (13th through 14th centuries), the most artistically relevant church in town. It has a noteworthy portal with a triple arch within a pointed arch, a polygonal apse and traces of Renaissance frescoes. During the Napoleonic Wars it was used a stable, and was reconsecrated on 22 June 1827.
The Baroque church of St. John the Baptist, housing a Madonna of the Graces (1377) by Barnaba da Modena and a Madonna with Saints (1508) by Macrino d'Alba.
The city museums include the F. Eusebio Municipal Museum of Archaeology and Natural Science.
In addition to traditional agriculture, Alba is a very important center of wine. In the area of Alba, in fact, there are 290 wineries that cultivate an area of 700 hectares (1,700 acres) of land, producing an average of 61,200 hL of wine annually.
The wines of Alba are among the most renowned in Italy and are divided into:DOC: Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo.
DOCG: Barbaresco, Barolo, Moscato.
The city has a thriving economy, boasting the confectionery industry's world-renowned Ferrero, the publishing house Società San Paolo and the textile firm Miroglio.
The town also houses the largest cooperative credit bank of Italy, by number of partners, the Banca d'Alba, and the international food chain Eataly. UniEuro, the Italian chain of stores specializing in household electrical appliances and acquired by Dixons Retail in 2002, was also established in Alba.
Alba is also famous worldwide for its white truffles, and its annual Truffle Festival.
According to the Köppen climate classification, Alba has a humid subtropical climate which is moderated by the proximity of the Mediterranean sea. Its winter are warmer, January is usually 5 °C (41 °F), and its summers are hot, where temperature can reach 35 °C (95 °F). Rain falls mostly during the spring and autumn; during the hottest months rain is less common, July with 43 mm (2 in) and August with 51 mm (2 in). During November and December, the town of Alba can be prone to fog.
The town’s football club, A.S.D. Albese Calcio has been in existence since 1917.
In 2009 Alba was the 1st Italian Comune with more than ten thousands inhabitants for Quality of life.Publius Helvius Pertinax (126–193), Governor of Britain c.185–187 and Roman Emperor for the first 86 days of 193 AD was born in Alba.
The Blessed Margaret of Savoy (1390–1464), child bride and childless, youthful widow of Theodore II, Marquess of Montferrat established, ruled over, and was interred in a monastery here.
Macrino d'Alba (c.1460–65 – c.1510–20) was a Renaissance painter, born in Alba and largely active in north-west Italy.
Giuseppe "Pinot" Gallizio (1912–1964), an artist born in Alba and co-founder there of the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus.
Beppe Fenoglio (1922–1963) was a writer born in Alba and a (royalist) partisan fighter who participated in the brief liberation of the town from Nazi-Fascist control in 1944.
Sara Bonifacio (1996-), Italian female volleyballplayer.
Alba is twinned with: