Città di Ovada

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OVADA

Ovada is a quiet, little town which can be easily reached by both train and car. Many come to enjoy the natural beauty of its scenic hills, woods and placid, clean rivers. The historic town center is endowed with ancient, graceful churches, historic buildings and relaxing green areas. The library offers a good choice of books and a new Natural museum is about to open. The 15-th century frescoes which adorn St Sebastian Loggia are well worth the visit. As regards to entertainment, the local cinema premieres many current films, while drama, concerts and conferences are regularly organized at the two local theatres. The typical religious processions, with the men of the local brotherhood carrying the statues of the saints making them dance through the narrow streets of the town, are the continuing symbols of Ovada`s tradition. Cakes, ice-cream and pastries (paste dolci) are some of the best local products together with our reputed red wine, Dolcetto, and farinata. Ovada is also well known for its finely crafted, handmade furniture. The sports center "Geirino", which is equipped with tennis courts, running-tracks and soccer and volleyball, is open every day. The gyms in Ovada also offer facilities and any type of courses, while from Ovada it is possible to go hiking, trekking and cycling. And in the summer, if you need to relax, you could always enjoy a swim in the local fresh rivers.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE TOWN

Ovada, whose origins date back to the Celtic period, lies between the two rivers Orba and Stura, on the piazza where the ancient castle was. The first written document related to our town (991) is San Quintino di Spigno' foundation act. Before the Vienna Congress took place, Ovada was under the administration of Genoa, but then it was annexed to the Savoy kingdom. At the time, most of the people worked in silk mill factories and in the fields. The break of Ortiglieto's dam in 1935 was one of the most tragic events for our town. A whole village was wiped out and one hundred people died. In the years 1935-1936 local men formed a group of partisans to fight against Fascism. They were persecuted by Nazi-Fascists and the tragic slaughter in the village of Olbicella and La Benedicta became a landmark event in our Resistenza National Movement. After World War II, some important firms set up business nearby. In 1978 a motorway was built, linking Ovada to Genoa and the rest of Northern Europe. (Trafori Motorway). After a transitional period in the sixties, when farmers abandoned the countryside to move to industrial towns, Ovada went through an agricultural rebirth and can now be proud of its red wines Dolcetto and Barbera (this label meaning they have been subjects to specific vineyards standards).

WINE, AGNOLOTTI, FARINATA, HONEY AND COOKIES

In the last few years, Ovada`s wine-producers have focused on quality more than on quantity: they grow grapes only in limited vineyard areas where the soil conditions are at their best. The real wine of repute in Ovada is Dolcetto, the original one being produced only in 22 villages nearby. It is an intense ruby red wine, tending to turn garnet with age. The bouquet is fruity, it tastes dry, smooth and pleasantly almondish. (Overall minimum alcohol 11,5░). Try it with the highlight of our regional cuisine agnolotti ( ravioli stuffed with pork or beef meat, parmesan cheese and chards): "I anloti an tei vin" (ravioli dressed with wine) are a delight. Other typical dishes are panissa (farinata), made with chick-pea flour, rabbit meat, polenta, vegetable soup (minestrone) and delectable truffles. Homemade honey has become popular in the recent years. It is well worth trying the typical biscotti della salute, the light and healthy version (no fat at all) of the famous Genovese Lagaccio cookies. They taste divine and are perfect for breakfast or anytime you want to have a light and tasty snack.

FESTIVALS, ENTERTAINMENT AND SEASONAL EVENTS

NEAR OVADA

Ovada is one of the towns situated along the so called "Strada del Vino" (Wine Road), leading to the castles and vineyards areas of Alto Monferrato. Manor-houses, medieval boroughs and Roman Churches are spread throughout the surrounding hills. Among some of the festivals occurring seasonally, we would like to mention the historic battle re- enactment, in Rocca Grimalda, of the people's rebellion against "Ius primae noctis" tradition imposed by the noblemen. Other special events are: in Castelletto, in March, Wine Exhibition; in Molare, in May, Polentone Festival; in Silvano, in July, Puppet Show; in Tagliolo, end of August, Wine Exhibition; in Lerma, in September, Mushroom picking. In Val d'Orba, a valley near Ovada, it is also possible to go on an adventurous vacation and pan for gold in the local streams. For further information, please contact the National Historic Gold Museum (tel. 0143. 88.22.89). As regards to religious pilgrimages, we suggest that you visit the sanctuaries which were honored with a special blessing by the Pope for the 2000 Jubilee: Santuario dellaMadonna delle Rocche (Molare), Casa Santuario di Santa Maria Mazzarello (Mazzarelli, Mornese) and Santuario della Bruceta (Cremolino). Just a few minutes by car from Ovada, you can also visit the Regional Natural Park Capanne di Marcarolo.

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