Piazza Cappuccini

The place was inhabited by Celtic-Ligurian populations, the Romans built a fortified castle (castrum) to protect the fords

The name of Ovada appears for the first time in the deed of foundation of Abazia di San Quintino di Spigno (911) drawn by the marquises Aleramici : "il locus et fundus de Ovaga".

Ovada switched from the Aleramici to the Del Bosco marquises, then after becoming an important halting place along the salt route, passed under the control of Genoa (1217)

Under the rules of the Malaspinas since 1277 Ovada remained loyal to the Republic of Genoa. Such a loyalty allowed the town to benefit from a special Statute in which increased freedoms and substantial tax advantages were granted.

An epigraph inside the Loggia of San Sebastiano is evidence of the thirteenth century plague when four fifths of the population died.

Ovada was for a short time under the dominium of the Viscontis, then in 1358 it was reclaimed by Genoa; towards the end of the century, after a quick French occupation, the town went under the control of the Dukedom of Milan. Shortly after it was conquered again by the Republic of Genoa which re-established the old privileges.

In 1452 it became a feud of the Campofregoso family; it then passed to the Dorias and again to the Dukedom of Milan; soon after being appointed duke, Francesco Sforza firstly gave the feud to the Trotti family and then to the Adornos' who had supported his lordship in Genoa.

In 1449 the king of France, proclaimed king of Genoa, gave the feud back to the Trotti family from Alessandria. They kept it until 1528 when Andrea Doria set Genoa free from the French domination and Ovada became part of Genoa's territory for over three centuries .

In 1625 Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy, along with the French, fought against the Spanish and the Republic of Genoa, the troops occupied Ovada. The peace was signed but another conflict broke out in Monferrato: Spanish and Neapolitan troops engaged in the siege of Casale spread the plague among the population

In 1672 Ovada was assaulted by the Savoy troops during the war between Carlo Emanuele II and the Republic of Genoa.

In the early years of the eighteenth century Ovada passed under the Savoy control of duke Vittorio Amedeo II who established a reformist and far-sighted politics transforming the Savoy Reign into a real and modern state thus allowing Ovada to benefit from favourable development prospects.

In 1746, with the beginning of the War of Austria Succession the town was occupied from the Austrian-Sardinian army; after the peace was signed, a slow but steady growth trend characterised the last part of the century. A sign of the achieved cultural maturity was the set up of an Arcadia academy in town: the Accademia Urbense founded in 1784 by the poet Ignazio Benedetto Buffa

The victory at Marengo (1800) consolidated the role of the French and set the basis for new ideas and scientific discoveries, among them the vaccination against smallpox introduced by doctor Francesco Buffa.

The Congress of Vienna incorporated Liguria to the Savoy Reign and soon after Ovada was piazza-castellodetached from Liguria to become part of the Province of Acqui.

In 1820 a group of men from Ovada joined the Italian Risorgimento movement. Among them Andrea Dania who died for the freedom of Greece; Domenico Buffa, head of the volunteers during the Five Days of Milan and a member of the first Subalpine Parliament when he was only thirty years old. Other young men contributed to this movement: Giovanni Battista Cereseto dealt with cultural education and promotion; Bartolomeo Marchelli and Emilio Buffa joined Garibaldi's expedition of the "thousand" while Gerolamo Oddini battled at Goito and Pastrengo.

The First World War caused many deaths. In the after war period a socialist government was formed, the rise of Fascism coincided with the crisis of the wine industry and its difficult and slow recovery

In August 1935 a water wall swept away the Orba valley due to the collapse of a river dam in Ortiglieto. The fury of the water swept away the lowest part of Ovada, an area called "Borgo" causing over one hundred deaths.

In the second world war an organised partisan movement took place around the mountains surrounding Ovada. The massacre of Olbicella and Benedicta are the sad evidence of the blood tribute paid by Ovada's people.

In the after-war period the town got over from its ruins and achieved the current lay out with the building of new areas and modern infrastructures along with industrial and handicraft enterprises.