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Locanda del Pilone, Alba, Italy - Hotel Review

Quaint Farmhouse in the Italian Countryside

by Becky Sue Epstein

An exterior view of Locanda del Pilone in Alba, Italy
An exterior view of Locanda del Pilone in Alba, Italy

Situated high in the hills above the Italian Piedmont town of Alba, Locanda del Pilone is well worth a trip. Featuring just five rooms and three suites, the hundred-year-old stone and brick farmhouse also has its own acclaimed — albeit tiny — restaurant.

You don't notice it at first, but there's also a winery behind the hotel, tucked into the hillside. The Boroli family (Italian publishing giants) built the winery in 1997 after they bought the surrounding vineyards, and they've made impressive strides in the wine business in a little over a decade. Two years after the winery was finished, they renovated the farmhouse and opened it as a hotel. Locanda del Pilone was named for a small nearby shrine (pilone) which was built for a saint, in gratitude for saving vineyard workers when a cart carrying their grapes overturned on the steep hillside.

Inside the Locanda, furnishings create the feel of having wandered into an unostentatious country house. The furniture was designed to look comfortably lived-in; it was custom-built in the workshops of the charitable community of San Patrignano. The photos on the wall are actual Boroli family portraits.

The hotel has no bar, but in the relaxed public living rooms the well-trained staff will serve you a cup of coffee or a drink, if you desire. Breakfast is served in an airy room down the hallway from the miniscule lobby.

The Bompe suite at Locanda del Pilone in Alba, Italy The Restaurant at Locanda del Pilone in Alba, Italy
The Bompe suite
The Restaurant

People often reserve a hotel room when booking a reservation at the restaurant, which is good idea when the food — as well as the service — tempts you to relax and overindulge a bit, especially during Alba's famous white truffle season in October and November. In addition to offering the Boroli wines, the restaurant has a surprisingly large wine list, heavy on local Piemont wines, but with plenty of other Italian wines, Champagnes and just about every region of the world represented.

Suites and rooms have cable TV, small fridges and electric kettles to make tea and coffee. Both bedrooms and bathrooms are good-sized, and the bathrooms are thoroughly modern. 

Some of the hotel's best features are its views of the Barolo hills where Piedmont's most famous wine is made. Each window frames a painting of vineyards and farmhouses, made mystical by the haze and fog common in this area during fall and spring. On a clear winter day, distant snow-covered Alps form a brilliant backdrop.


Locanda del Pilone
Loc. Madonna di Como, 34
12051 Alba (CN)
Tel. +39 0173 366616

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(Updated: 06/24/13 CT)


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