Battle of the Oranges, Italy

Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea Carnival, Italy

Mark our words, in Spring, blood will run through the streets of Italy. Ah no, sorry – make that orange juice, and the streets of Ivrea in Northern Italy. Italy’s biggest food fight takes place during the Ivrea Carnival, and yes – the main missile of choice is the humble orange.

There is a decidedly bloody tale behind the tradition, however. Legend has it that a tyrant ruled these parts, and following his near-rape of a young girl, she beheaded him. The people then stormed his palace, killing his cronies and liberating the town.

The Battle of the Oranges relives the action; only revolutionaries now throw fruit at the embattled tyrant’s guard. Thousands of locals are divided into teams and pile in on the pre-Lent fun from Carnival Sunday to Shrove Tuesday.

Visitors can’t join in, unless they enlist in one of the teams. To avoid becoming a victim, spectators can wear a red hat and declare loyalty to the revolutionaries.

The whole affair leaves the streets, fighters and for that matter many a bystander sticky with sweet pulp and juice. But the oddest fact of all in this quirky custom, is that oranges don’t even grow locally. They actually have to be imported by the truckload!

Written by - Photo by Giò-S.p.o.t.s

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