The archaeological remains of the area where Alba is located date back to the Neolithic Age, and witness the first human presence between the sixth and the third millennium BC. The ancient settlement, quite extensive, was located on the left bank of the Cherasca River, just before the confluence with the Tanaro River.
It is quoted by some classical and epigraphic sources by the name of “Alba Pompeia”, in honor of the consul Cneius Pompeius Strabo (150-80 BC), who, in the year 89 BC, granted Roman citizenship to Cisalpine Gaul. With regard to the etymology, hypothesis are many, but the most credible claims that the ancient name of the city is of Ligurian origin, meaning “Town” or "Chief Town". In Roman times Alba was placed in the tribe "Camilia," while we have no documents about the administrative situation of the city in the Republican Age. The epigraphic evidence registers the presence of the “duoviri”, magistrates of the Roman colonies, next to so-called “quattuorviri”; these magistrates indicate that in ancient Imperial Age the city had probably the title of “Municipium”.
|In the Middle Ages, Alba became a free Municipality in 1170, and it was
immediately contested between Guelphs and Ghibellines. After a series of wars,
sieges and Dominions (including that of the Gonzaga), in 1628, finally, it came
under the dominion of the Dukes of Savoy.
What remains of the medieval age is still visible; in fact, the defense wall of Alba is a true monument of the military art. The towers, walls and ramparts are based on foundations that joined them more than two meters thick, and they were surrounded by a deep moat. Several towers were demolished in the nineteenth century, but some are still preserved , giving a fascinating and reliable impression of what Alba should have been in the past.