Francesco Torello Rovereto
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The Carlotta and Rivarola farm is located in Ovada. The city is located in the middle of a wide valley with the rivers Orba and Stura that frame the city center, in a geographic position decidedly privileged as only 34 km north of Alessandria, the provincial capital; and thanks to the convenient highway just 20 minutes from the sea of Genoa.
The soft reliefs of the Monferrato here blend with striking contrast to the characters of the Ligurian Apennines: the views are characterized by the signs that history has impressed through the centuries: the small quiet villages, often crowned by ancient castles. An itinerary of the ancient manors, we could define the one that winds on the roads of Ovadese. Each village in the area has a castle, a medieval village structure and preserves part of the ancient walls or archaeological finds.
All these countries have their own fascinating and intricate story like that of the Monferrato. Most of the castles, privately owned, are not accessible to the public and consequently offer a scenic route. 21 castles form a circle whose diameter is the course of the Orba.
Ovada is a starting point in one of the rare places where the natural environment has not been modified as it is shown among other things by the varied vegetation and by the still rich fauna present.
The origins of Ovada date back to Roman times. It already existed as a small village but very important because it was located at the confluence of two streams (Orba and Stura) and represented an obligatory ford point on the roads that then from the sea led to the Po Valley; its name at the time, 'Vada' or 'Vadum', indicated it as a ford and obligatory transit point. It is already mentioned in the letters of Decimo Brutus to Cicero.
In 967 d. C. Otto I gave it, along with other territories, to the Marquis Aleramo. After having passed into possession of the Marquis of Gavi and then of the Marquises Del Bosco, it came to the Malaspina family who, in 1277, sold it to the Republic of Genoa on several occasions.
Ovada followed the fate of the Republic of Genoa, with the exclusion of a period of a few years during which it was under the rule of the Dukes of Milan, until 1814 when, following the Congress of Vienna, passed under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
The history of the Republic of Genoa is reflected in the monuments of the city. In the historic center you can find the characteristic layout of the Genoese houses and 'carrugi', with their sunny colors even if faded by time.
Among the monuments we can enumerate the ancient parish church of San Sebastiano, dating back to 1200 and now deconsecrated and used as a venue for art exhibitions; the Oratory of the SS. Trinity and St. Giovanni Battista, built over the remains of an ancient pre-Romanesque cemetery chapel and accessed via an unusual wide stone staircase, where valuable works of art are kept; the Christmas House of St. Paolo della Croce and the Oratory of the SS. Annunziata, where you can admire valuable works. The Church of the Conception, also called the Capuchin Fathers, is the result of a vote made by the Ovada population during the plague of 1631. The church of N. S. delle Grazie, also known as the Scolopi, of municipal property, stands where there was an ancient Romanesque chapel, currently incorporated in the structure of the apse. The current church was begun in 1481 and finished in 1508, together with the convent. Of the ancient castle, which was built to defend the roads of communication with the Po Valley, there is nothing left but the homonymous square, obtained in 1855 when the ruins of the castle, now falling, were completely demolished.
In Ovadese mushroom picking is widespread: here you can also live in contact with nature that offers glimpses of great beauty, with well-traced paths for those who want to travel in an ecological way with itineraries for hiking, mountain biking or horse is for those who prefer the convenience of the car.
The opportunities that are offered are many: the water courses can host trout fishing competitions or may well accommodate colonies of summer bathers.
Another non-secondary aspect is the rich gastronomic and enological tradition that makes it even more pleasant to visit them.
While not betraying the typical Piedmontese recipes, the traditional Ovada cuisine has been strongly influenced by nearby Liguria. The result is a unique cuisine that allows the satisfaction of different tastes.
Among the various local activities undoubtedly occupies a prominent place in agriculture, which is characterized above all by viticulture that boasts centuries-old traditions.
Almost all of the wine-growing area is cultivated with Dolcetto vine, from which the "Dolcetto d'Ovada" wine is obtained, a ruby-red wine with very complex aromas.
On the first of September 1972, the Controlled Denomination of Origin was recognized as "Dolcetto d'Ovada"