Battle of the Oranges

Get ready for a truly memorable festival

Add This

Jules Pearson

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert



Battle of OrangesEurope is an odd place. Please don’t misunderstand this statement; it is written in the fondest possible sense. Indeed, the unique eccentricities of the various nations that comprise this fine continent are what make it what it is! Just look at some of the events that occur across our countries on an annual basis, and you'll soon see why 'odd' is meant as a compliment. Ireland has Tedfest, where hundreds of revellers, under the guise of priests and nuns, run amok on a tiny west coast island for three days. Spain, meanwhile, boasts La Tomatina, where some 20,000 locals and visitors gather to paint the town of Bunol red; by tossing tomatoes at one another, naturally.

Not to be outdone, the Italians have their own version of Spain's fruitful festival. In fact, the annual Battle of the Oranges has a history even more illustrious than its southern European cousin. If you’re unfamiliar with the aforementioned fruit-lobbing fiesta (and let’s face it, you probably are) then fear not. Our quick guide to the festival will tell you everything you need to know in a nutshell. When you decide whether or not it sounds like your cup of tea (or should we make that glass of juice?), simply browse through HomeAway to find your perfect rental accommodation for your stay. 


 

Battle of the Oranges: all you need to know


   

History of the festival History of the festival

The origins of the event in Ivrea lie in the Middle Ages, celebrating the overthrowing of tyrannical Lord Raineri di Biandrate. Legend has it that the despicable Raineri, after granting himself the right to spend the evening with any new bride on her wedding night, gifted pots of beans to the area’s poor families by means of reparation. The outraged locals responded by throwing the pots back into the street, and over the years, this act of defiance evolved into a tradition; a convention which saw girls throw oranges at potential love interests from their balconies, and the boys respond in kind. Thus, the institution known as the Battle of the Oranges was born. 

View accommodation in Ivrea

 
   
 

   

The basics The basics

The Storica Carnevale di Ivrea occurs each year on the four days leading up to Shrove Tuesday. As well as the carnage of the battle itself, the event incorporates all manner of bonfires, processions and costumed pomposity to add to the curiosity of it all. The central figure is arguably the townswoman elected to play Mugnaia, the Miller’s daughter, who according to legend rejected the advances of the tyrant and promptly lopped off his head. Gruesomely, the oranges are said to represent the decapitated skull and, on a broader scale, the revolution that the humble Mugnaia jumpstarted.

 

View accommodation Ivrea

 
   
 

   

The battle The battle

The main event takes place throughout the town centre’s five squares. Participants are split into two teams: the Guards represent the followers of the evil lord and launch their weapons from horse-drawn carts, whereas the Peasants attack their “oppressors” from the ground. Anyone who doesn’t wish to take part is encouraged to don a Berretto Frigio, a red cap that marks you out as a humble spectator. Please note that whilst those in the thick of it do try their level best to aim their fruit at the opposing team, however, a certain degree of collateral damage is expected. The safest option is to find yourself a spot behind one of the many nets draped over the surrounding buildings; but it’s nonetheless wise to dress in clothes that would be of no great loss to you should they get splattered!

View accommodation in Ivrea

 
   
 

   

The aftermath The aftermath

As you can likely imagine, the clean-up operation after 57,000 crates of rotting oranges have been splattered across a town centre for three days is unenviable, to say the least. Before all that, though, a winner must be declared; a task which is left in the capable hands of a team of impartial judges. The main criterion is the condition of the opponent’s uniform, but bonus points are awarded for avoiding the horses that are unwittingly involved in the chaos. At the end of the three days, an enormous procession weaves its way through Ivrea before some 100 unfortunate souls are drafted in to get rid of the mess. 

View accommodation in Ivrea

 
   
 

   

Turin Turin

If you find that you don’t want to base your entire holiday around assaulting foreigners with fruit (although I can’t think for the life of me why not), it may please you to know that the historic city of Turin is a mere 16 kilometres from Ivrea. When you’ve rid yourself of the citrus stench, take time to venture to Italy’s industrial heartland. Lovers of culture in particular will appreciate the chance to clap eyes on the infamous Turin Shroud, the supposed burial cloth of Christ which resides in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The Biblioteca Reale also houses the most famous self-portrait ever etched, Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk by none other than Leonardo Da Vinci. 

View accommodation in Turin

 
   
 

Main image theme from Flickr, by Gio-S.p.o.t.s
Images for destinations 1, 2, 3 also contributed by Gio-S.p.o.t.s

 

Turin Holiday Rentals

The Turin Apartment

The Turin Apartment is our suggestion for your holidays in Turin. A comfortable, cozy and bright apartment. All city center at walking distance. It has located in corso San Maurizio, overlooking the Mole Antonelliana, close to several public tra...

Charme, nature and design in Turin

The property includes the villa (8 beds) and a little, very pleasant dependence (2 beds). The villa is arranged over 4 floors, connected by an elegant spiral staircase. It is structured as follows. Ground floor: living room with open plan living,...

Elegant apparatamento center in Turin - 'Archbishop'

Accommodation with all the comforts, made an elegant and comfortable bedroom, large living room with sofa bed and equipped kitchen (oven-microwave, dishwasher, tools and kitchenware), conrridoio corner storage room (with washing machine and dryer ...

Fascinating Penthouse Family Friendly In Real City Centre

Charming apartment in one of the storical building of Pietro Micca Street. In 5 minutes on foot you can go from Pietro Micca 20 to the heart of Turin: the beautiful Piazza Castello and Royal Palace. Althouth you are in the centre, you can enjoy t...

Villa Faber 6+2 l 4 Bedrooms

PRIVATE STRUCTURE. A striking modern house in stone and glass, immersed in a green nature park but just a 15-20 minute drive from the centre of Turin: this is Villa Faber. After years of neglect, in 2003 it was renovated by the current owners, wit...

italyFrance Valle d'Aosta Piedmont Lombardia Lombardy Emilia Romagna Switzerland Trentino Alto Adige Austria Veneto-Venice Friuli Venezia Giulia Slovenia Slovenia Croatia Tuscany Marche Umbria Lazio Sardinia Abruzzo Molise Puglia Campania Basilicata Calabria Sicily Europe Stati Uniti World

 


Search for holiday rentals

Search for holiday ideas
 


Bank Holidays & School Holiday Breaks

 

Sign up to our newsletter

Our latest updates and special offers, direct to your inbox


Related Articles



Other Categories



Popular Articles