Ivrea Italy Battle of the Oranges is upon us!
Every year on the third week of February, the city of Ivrea (Piedmont) celebrates the Battle of the Oranges. This is an event that attracts thousands of people from all over the city (and beyond). Participants divide themselves into 9 teams and fight in a real battle pelting oranges at each other. The Historical Carnival of Ivrea is the city’s most important festival. During this time the Ivrea community celebrates its right to decide for itself, commemorating an incident that is said to date back to medieval times, when the starving townspeople were freed from the tyranny of an evil baron.
According to legend, around 1200 A.D. the baron was overthrown thanks to the rebellion of a miller’s daughter, Violetta. Violetta, betrothed to Toniotto, refused to abide by the ”jus prime noctis’ imposed by the tyrant on all young brides. She went to the castle, beheaded the baron and incited the people to revolt, leading to the destruction of the castle. The Orange Battle re-enacts this rebellion. The people, interpreted by the nine teams of orange-throwers on foot, fight the overlord’s army. They are personified by the throwers on horse-drawn carts wearing protective clothing and masks recalling ancient armor.
The Ivrea Italy Battle of the Oranges involves some thousands of townspeople, and takes place during the last three fat carnival days: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The carnival takes place 40 days before Easter and it ends on the night of “Fat Tuesday” with a solemn ceremony that involves a funeral in honour of the concluded Carnival.
The Battle of the Oranges takes place in Ivrea, in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. Ivrea lies in a basin that in prehistoric times formed a large lake. Today a number of five smaller lakes surround the town area — Sirio, San Michele, Pistono, Nero and Campagna.
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