Alba Truffle Fair
October is the height of the white truffle season, with the highest prices and the fiercest competition among both hunters and buyers.
Alba, in Piedmont, is Italy's truffle capital and main market as well as home to the Associazione Nazionale 'Città del Tartufo', representing nearly 20 truffle-producing towns in central Italy. Crowds of thousands converge on the town to sample local food and wine - including roast pork, salami, polenta, almond and chocolate cake, apricot cake, Gianduja chocolate, hazelnuts, and Moscato d'Alba wine.
There is the White Truffle World Auction and the Truffle-of-the-Year prize. There is also an associated wine festival.
But the event is not just about the elusive truffle; the town goes into festival mode, with many related events: the Alba Art Show, the Città d'Alba Art Prize, the Literature Festival and various traditional races.
The Donkey Race, now in its 52nd year, is a light-hearted celebration of the rivalry between Alba districts. It traces its origins to 1275, when the neighbouring town of Asti conquered Alba. The citizens of Alba decided to mock the triumphant people of Asti by creating their own palio - but instead of racing the finest horses, they chose the humble donkey. The trappings of the palio - parades, musical bands and medieval costumes - are all retained.
The Festival takes place on Saturdays and Sundays between 6 October and 18 November. NB 2015 dates are provisional.