Discover 3 Authentic Italian Cities: Alba, Ragusa, and Marostica

Italy is a mecca of culture, history, and of course, food, replete with iconic cities that are often teeming with tourists from all over the world. While no one can dispute the appeal of romantic Venice, alluring Florence, or historic Rome, these notable destinations tend to capture just one side of Italy’s unique charm.

In this blog, we invite you to resist the typical tourist itineraries of Italy’s most famous cities and instead embrace the opportunity to discover the authentic, indigenous Italy that thrives in the smaller towns of Alba, Ragusa, and Marostica.


Villa in Alba Italy

Alba offers travelers a generous sampling of true Italian life. Its captivating mix of culture, history, and out-of-this-world gastronomy makes this city an ideal choice for those seeking authentic Italian immersion. Known as the capital of Langhe, part of UNESCO’s Human Heritage program, Alba is celebrated worldwide for its white truffle, peach, and wine production.

Alba has historically been known a food lover’s delight. It is the birthplace of famous sweets Ferrero Rocher and Nutella, as well as the home of an abundance of white truffles. Naturally, the city’s allure extends far beyond its delicious eats. Alba is equally renowned for its architectural beauty, beautifully displayed by its cathedral and other Gothic landmarks. Also known as the city of a hundred towers, Alba’s scenic and artfully preserved old town offers a lovely atmospheric experience. Overall, Alba is the perfect city to indulge in the classic Italian pleasure of strolling through a piazza with gelato in hand.

What To See & Do

Explore Alba’s History

In the heart of Alba, an abundance of history beckons visitors on a journey through Italy of old. The San Lorenzo Cathedral, a striking Gothic structure erected in 1486, dominates Piazza Risorgimento with its distinctive red bricks, standing as a testament to religious architectural mastery. Traversing the city, one can also glimpse the medieval strength of Alba through its surviving towers. These remaining towers serve as architectural reminders of Alba’s once imposing defensive skyline. Among these historic marvels, the Antico Caffè Calissano offers travelers a living slice of the 19th century. Today it remains a bustling social hub in the Piazza del Duomo.

Attend One of Alba’s Events

Alba Banners at Tournament of the Hundred Towers

Alba is full of events often focused on food and wine heritage. This lively city offers entertaining shows to locals and tourists all year long.

Flowering Festival (Last weekend of May): A floral spectacle in Piazza del Duomo.

Alba Music Festival (May–June; July–August): A symphony of more than 50 performances.

International Alba White Truffle Fair (October): A tribute to the city’s truffle tradition.

Donkey Race and Tournament of the Hundred Towers “Giostra delle cento torri(First Sunday of October) A homecoming celebration encapsulating all things Alba.

Vinum Wine Festival (April): A celebration of wine culture.

Alba Festa del Vino (Last weekend of September) A festival showcasing the most excellent wines of the region.

Discover the Langhe Wine Region

Exploring the Langhe wine region is a must if you are staying in Alba for a few days. Renting a car and navigating through the Piedmont vineyards will allow you to stop at as many wineries as you wish. Make sure to grab a bottle (or three!) to savor alongside a traditional Italian meal back in Alba. 

Where To Eat

Alba’s percentage of exceptional restaurants relative to its size is unrivaled. The culinary scene here is robust, featuring numerous stellar dining destinations, including the esteemed Piazza Duomo. This three-Michelin-starred gem is not only recognized among the Top 20 restaurants in Italy but is also celebrated for its extensive selection of traditional Piedmontese delicacies.

Another notable mention is Borgo Sant’Anna, which serves Italian and Mediterranean fare. With its idyllic location amid the hills, the experience at Borgo Sant’Anna is as much about the ambiance as it is about the cuisine. Whether you dine on the outdoor terrace or enclosed in the warmth of the winter veranda, the views are as delectable as the menu.

For a taste of local charm, Ugo Gastronomia invites patrons into a world where a former delicatessen has blossomed into a full-fledged culinary experience. This establishment remains true to its roots with a selection of local specialties alongside homemade pasta and the much-coveted truffles.

Where to Stay

Suite at Villa La Favorita in Alba Italy

Villa La Favorita

Villa La Favorita is a charmingly rustic converted villa in the countryside just outside Alba. Its seven individually designed rooms are decorated with an Italian eye for style and plenty of character, making it perfect for those who want to experience authentic Italian living.

La Villa Hotel

Located in the heart of Piemonte’s wine country, this 16th-century palazzo turned boutique hotel has been stealing the hearts of travelers since 2005. The family-owned bespoke service of La Villa Hotel cultivates an air of elevated private villa bliss. 

Corte Gondina

Corte Gondina is a four-star boutique hotel offering 14 bespoke rooms focused on providing guests with an authentic, refreshing vacation experience. Enjoy the comforts of slow living in this truly unique retreat close to Alba.

When to Visit Alba

In terms of climate and festivities, the ideal time to visit Alba is during September and October. This time of year features picturesque vineyards adorned in beautiful russets and gold, plus the added excitement of the truffle festival in full swing.


Next we have the city of Ragusa, which offers travelers a heavy dose of history amongst striking landscapes. Within rugged Sicily, Ragusa is positioned atop a hill between two deep valleys. Along with its Baroque counterparts in the Val di Noto, Ragusa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrated for its remarkable architecture and rich cultural fabric.

Ragusa’s two-fold charm is distinguished by its division into Ragusa Superiore (the modern city) and Ragusa Ibla (the historical quarter). Strolling through Ragusa’s streets is an invitation to unravel the layers of time, with storied stones bearing the legacy of ancient earthquakes and an affluent past. But Ragusa’s allure doesn’t rest solely on its history; it is revered for its panoramic views that command the best of Sicily’s natural beauty and expertly crafted urban landscapes. 

What To See & Do

Immerse in Ragusa’s Baroque History

The historical heart of Ragusa, Ibla, is home to a dense display of Baroque architecture. The Duomo di San Giorgio is a masterpiece, with a façade composed of curves, Corinthian columns, and statues that exemplify the strength of Baroque aesthetics. The sweeping steps leading to the cathedral create a dramatic entrance befit for such a grand structure. Another notable location in Ragusa is the Giardino Ibleo, a stunning garden park that offers tranquility and impressive views of the surrounding mountain landscape.

Engage in Ragusa’s Vibrant Cultural Scene

Ragusa pulses with cultural events showcasing its historical heritage and contemporary spirit.

Ragusa Foto Festival (Summer): An international photography festival celebrating visual arts.

Ibla Street Food (September): A food fest that promotes the quality of local products and the surrounding area.

Ibla Buskers (October): A festival of street artists from all around the world. 

ChocoBarocco (December): A tempting celebration of chocolate made by Sicilian artisans using ancient recipes. 

Savor the Flavors of Ragusa

A visit to a local vineyard for a tasting is a great way to get a feel for Ragusa. Select from an extensive list of farms and vineyards dotting the region to try a sip of the only DOCG wine in Sicily. For red wine lovers, exploring this area is a must!

Where To Eat

Michelin stars and hearty home-style cooking converge in Ragusa’s dining scene. The two-Michelin-starred Ciccio Sultano Duomo in Ragusa Ibla offers travelers an unrivaled dining experience. Here the menu consists of inventive Sicilian cuisine that honors local ingredients with impeccable flair.

Next on the list is Accursio, renowned for innovatively reinterpreting traditional Sicilian cuisine. Awarded a Michelin star, Accursio embraces seasonal and creative approaches to local staples to craft an exceptional gastronomic experience.

Finally, for those who favor the ambiance of eclectic bistros, Cucina & Vino is a gem in the historic quarter of Ragusa. Here, wine lovers can dabble in expertly curated pairings and tasty tapas.

Where to Stay

Antica Badia Relais Hotel

The five-star Antica Badia Relais Hotel is a renovated 18th-century palace located in Ragusa’s old town center. Its luxurious rooms and suites perfectly blend classic details with modern comforts, offering guests an elevated stay intertwined with historic elegance.

San Giorgio Palace Hotel

Among Ragusa Ibla’s tangle of cobbled streets, San Giorgio Palace Hotel is a refined accommodation with breath-stealing views. Its intimate environment and discreet luxury provide an elegant haven amid the city’s architectural wonders.

Eremo della Giubiliana

For a truly unique stay, the Eremo della Giubiliana, located just outside the city, welcomes visitors with its storied walls and aristocratic furnishings. This refurbished former monastery radiates an ambiance of quiet history, offering upscale lodging accentuated by period pieces and Sicilian charm.

When To Visit 

The optimal times to experience Ragusa’s beauty are in the spring (April to June) when the countryside is in full blooms, and the fall (September to October). Fall travel aligns with harvest time, meaning plenty of fresh produce and comfortable temperatures suitable for exploration and relaxation.


Marostica invites travelers into a world penned in medieval elegance and irresistible charm. Located in the province of Vicenza, Veneto, this city is renowned as the stage for a unique spectacle, the human chess game, and is recognized for its delicious cherries. Dominated by two magnificent castles, the area is a sublime blend of architecture, art, and natural beauty. Its seductive piazzas harken back to a time of knights and kings, allowing modern visitors to relive Italy’s medieval past. The rising hills characteristic of the region encircle Marostica, lying beyond these impressive structures. These slopes are sprinkled with vineyards that yield delicious wines such as Breganze DOC.

What To See & Do

Experience Marostica’s Legendary Past

Marostica’s old town is a treasure to behold. Its walls, fortresses, gates, and chessboard piazza all stand testament to its medieval roots. The Upper Castle still boasts a robust, dominating presence, while the Lower Castle graces the town square with its charm.

Attend Marostica’s Events

Marostica’s events are distinctive and unique, giving the city a vibrant, festive atmosphere.

Human Chess Game (Second weekend of September in even years): An epic event that transforms the main square into a giant chessboard.

Cherry Festival (First fortnight of June): A tribute to Marostica’s famous cherries.

Veneto Jazz Festival (Summer): A festival that lights up Marostica’s cultural scene with world-class performances.

Explore the Breganze Wine Region

Visiting nearby Breganze is a must for wine aficionados. A blend of tradition, passion, and skill shape the region’s prestigious wines. Taking the scenic route through vineyards and wineries, you’ll discover the unique character of these wines in each glass.

Where To Eat

Marostica might be small, but it features a bevy of dining options. Known for its innovative approach to Italian gastronomy, Ca’ 7 offers a taste experience that blends the tried and true traditions of Italian cuisine with a new, contemporary edge. The restaurant is ideal for food enthusiasts seeking a taste of creatively reinterpreted dishes using the freshest local produce.

A quintessential family-run eatery, the warmth of Italian hospitality is evident from the moment you step through Osteria Madonnetta’s doors. Earning the distinction of the Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide, Osteria Madonnetta is celebrated for its excellent quality cooking. This title is a testament to the kitchen’s dedication to creating exceptional dishes that please, without commanding a premium.

Ristorante Cuori is located in the center of Marostica, serving up traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine. With its welcoming ambiance, comfortable setting, and delicious meals, Cuori is the perfect eatery for any occasion.

Where to Stay

Due Torri

An impeccably converted farmstead, Due Morri is located between the sweeping foothills of Marostica. Its tasteful, Italian-inspired decor and welcoming atmosphere make it perfect for guests looking to experience authentic Italian hospitality.

Hotel Belvedere

Hotel Belvedere offers a luxurious stay with panoramic views of the surrounding area. Combining comfort with grace, it welcomes those who seek to immerse themselves in the town’s tranquil beauty while within reach of its historical center.

Ca’ Sette

Ca’ Sette offers accommodations inside a beautifully restored farmhouse. It promises a delicate balance of rustic charm and modern comfort. Each room provides stunning views and vividly depicts peaceful rural life.

When To Visit 

The best times to visit Marostica are in the warmer months, from April to October. The annual cherry festival in June is a particular highlight, filling the air with sweet aromas and festive energy. Additionally, the human chess game during even-numbered years in September is a must-see for both the history enthusiast as well as the casual adventurer.

Book your trip to discover Italy’s hidden gems and step off the well-trodden tourist path!

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