The origins of the town's name are uncertain, for some historians it derives from the Latin word 'Vadum" (due to the hypothesize that, in Roman times, here laid a river ford), for others from "opaque" (shaded lands). At present it is a municipality in the province of Alexandria, located where the river Stura converges into the Orba, and features a historical center that has the characteristics of the typical Ligurian village, unique for their particular configuration of narrow streets and colorful houses. It is famous for the production of a wine that bears the town's name: Dolcetto d'Ovada and a series of gastronomy specialties, that reproduce the uses and the influences of nearby Liguria.
The town is mentioned in a document dating from the period before year 1000, a period when the territory of Ovada was submitted to the Monastery of San Quentino di Spigno Monferrato. It submitted the domain of the Aleramicis, the Marchesi di Gavi, the Marchesi Del Bosco and then of the Malaspina, who, in the XIII century ceded the territory to Genoa. Later it belonged to the Dukes of Milan, to the Trotti family and then it became part of the fief of the Adorno, until the end of the XV century, when it returned to the Trotti. In the following century it was conquered by Bartholomew Spinola and at the end of the first half of the XVIII century, Ovada was occupied by Austria. It also became part of the Napoleonic Empire and its fall part of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
Not to miss:
- the XVII century Church of the Assunta, flanked by two Bell towers and preserves inside a marble altar produced on the designs of the artist Antonelli;
- the Oratory of St. John the Baptist and Holy Trinity, which keeps a wooden group sculptured by Maragliano and frescoes of the artist Canepa di Voltri;
- the Church of the Brotherhood of SS Annunziata, dating from the XIV century, with paintings of Cambiaso, Brea and Schiena and two wooden groups of statues attributed to Maragliano;
- the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie of antique origins, at present features an XVIII century façade;
- the Parish of San Sebastiano;
- the Church of Our Lady of the Snows in the district Costa d'Ovada;
- the Church of Christ King in the district of Gnocchetto;.
- the Church entitled to the Immaculate Conception;
- the Park of Villa Gabrieli;
- the Castle Lercaro;
- the Former Hospital, built on project of the architect Antonelli;
- Palazzo Spinola, built in the second half of the XVII century;
- the Civic Tower, dating from the XIV century;
- the Castle Grillano, restored in late XIX century, but whose original structure is of the XVIII century;
- the Paleontological Museum of Maini.