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Piedmont help needed - Lodging location and transportation

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Hello all! My husband and I will be spending 3 nights in Piedmont in late September. I cannot decide if we should stay in Alba or one of the smaller towns. I need help weighing the pros and cons of each choice. Here are some details about our plans.

* Arriving on train from Cinque Terre on Sunday
* Would like to avoid renting a car for longer than one day
* Tuesday will be used for a full day chauffeured wine tour with winery stops
* Would like to visit a regional enoteca or two on Sunday/Monday
* Departing to Florence by train on Wednesday

This just leaves Sunday afternoon/evening (depending on arrival time) and all day Monday for independent exploring. We are not completely opposed to renting a car, but would like to avoid it if possible. We'd like to both enjoy the wonderful wines of the region without worrying about driving at the end of the night. Our original plan was to stay in Neive, but now it seems a little remote for our needs. I know that Alba is less scenic, but I'd be willing to give up scenic for convenience.

Are the buses between towns reliable? Are taxis available in the towns? We could keep the more remote wineries for our chauffeured tour and stick to more easily accessed towns if buses and taxis are available.

I would appreciate any advice you could provide regarding getting around Piedmont (with and without a car) and from what town you'd base yourself. Thanks in advance!

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