Battle of the Oranges

At the Carnevale di Ivrea ,thebattle of the oranges which is the real  battle isn’t waged with guns and sword but with oranges as the weapon of choice. Teams wage a full-on fruit war, and not even a red-capped declaration of sovereignty can protect you from getting juiced. With one brave strike of her sword, she set the town free from his oppression. The townspeople battled on foot against the lord’s henchmen, who were elevated in horse-drawn carts.

It is known that the Legend says that sometime between the 12th and 13th centuries, Ivrea’s lord attempted to rape the daughter of a miller on the eve of her wedding, exercising his droit du seigneur (right of the lord) to take the virginity of his serfs’ daughters. In a twist of fate, the plan backfired, and the rebellious young woman decapitated him.

Every year, the tiny northern city of Ivrea in the Turin province stockpiles 500,000 kilograms of fresh oranges for Battaglia delle Arance (Battle of the Oranges), a re-creation of a historic fight between townsfolk and a ruling tyrant. The modern festival evolved from the way flirty local girls dropped oranges from a balcony to get the attention of boys they were interested in; if the feeling was mutual, the boys would reply with an orange of their own.Today, this struggle between the classes is represented by the lord’s followers in carts wearing jesters’ outfits, and commoners on their feet in sporting uniforms. The miller’s daughter, Violetta, is represented by a woman dressed in white and a crimson-red headdress, who throws yellow flowers and candies to her admirers.


The carnival takes place the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (Mardi Gras) before Ash Wednesday. The orange battle starts Sunday at 2pm, and the evening prior, a joyous procession pays respect to the woman standing in for the miller’s daughter. The festival ends on Mardi Gras, when awards, determined by judges patrolling the piazzas and by the defenders themselves, are handed out to the top-performing teams.

Battle Of The Oranges festival 2017

Battle of the Oranges is out next year in the Ivrea, Italy in the month of Feb 2017. The wildest is on the old bridge. The streets are narrow and the fruit piles up so much that snow-removal equipment are used to clear the waste.


You must be part of a team to participate in the battle; foreigners are usually accepted if they pay a fee (about $120). It’s worth negotiating beforehand how intense you want your involvement to be; those on the front line can end up with gashes on their heads.



Tags: ,