The Battle of Oranges

This festival of throwing oranges at each other is the largest food fight in Italy. It is celebrated in the city of Ivrea, where thousands of locals gather and divide into nine combat teams and then throw oranges at each other. The Orange Battle, or Battaglia Delle Arance to locals, is a three-day festival celebrated during the carnival days – Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The carnival takes place in the month of February.

Historical Origin

History says that a wicked tyrant once ruled the city of Ivrea. He claimed droit du seigneur on the miller’s daughter, Violetta, when she got married. Instead of becoming a victim, she marked the beginning of a revolution by using that opportunity to chop off his head. Now, to remember the revolution, every year, this festival is celebrated. This way, the people mark their liberation and enjoy that day.

The Celebration

Each year, a young girl is chosen in the name of Violetta, the rebellion. Earlier, beans were used instead of oranges, then apples, then finally oranges were taken as a symbol of stones thrown at the king’s castle. Moreover, people dressed as military on the carriages represent the king’s army and the orange thrower as the revolutionaries.

Many people get bruised and seriously injured. So, if you want to get little nuts and experience this festival, take precautions. Also, there are safe zones for non-participants.

Final Words

The Battle of Oranges is a magnificent display of freedom. It is worth experiencing this festival in northern Italy, especially when you love having a great skin, albeit being reddened by the shots of the fruit. You will surely go back home with fearless revolutionary tales and memories.


Image credit: Gabriele F.

Author’s note

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