the historical carnival of ivrea

Lo storico Carnevale di Ivrea

A journey to discover the Historical Carnival of Ivrea
and the famous "Battaglia delle Arance" - Orange Battle.

Learning about the tradition of horse riding in one of the greatest equestrian land of Italy.

The history
The Historical Carnival of Ivrea is a unique Italian event of international relevance.
A "dream" that is repeated every year, bringing, history, tradition, spectacle, excitement and solemn ideals to the streets and squares of the town of Ivrea.
In this event history and legend mingle to create a spectacular sequence crossing the centuries. The spirit of Carnival lives through the re-enactment of the city’s liberation from tyranny dating back to Medieval times: a baron who starved the city was driven away thanks to a miller’s daughter (the Mugnaia) who rebelled against the "jus primae noctis" and roused the people to revolt. In this commemoration every year the new version of the Carnival is celebrated as Festival involving the whole town, during which the community of Ivrea can show its self-determination. In order to show their involvement in the event, all townspeople and visitors who take to the streets wear the "Phrygian cap" (berretto frigio), a red stocking-like hat that shows their support for revolt and therefore their aspiration to freedom, as it was for the heroes of the French Revolution.

La battaglia delle arance - Battle of oranges
To fill the city with colours and scents, there is the famous, spectacular Battle of Oranges, in which the fighters identify strongly with the people’s rebellion against tyranny. In the battle the people, represented by orange throwers on foot without any protection, pelt oranges at the feudal lord’s army, personified by others throwing oranges from horse-drawn carts, who wear protective masks reminiscent of ancient armour. The tradition of throwing oranges has its roots in the mid 1800s.
Even earlier, in Medieval times, the battle was fought with beans. In around the 1930s and 1960s, along with confetti, sugared almonds, lupin seeds and flowers, girls on balconies began to throw oranges at the floats in the carnival parade, to attract the attention of young boys. Gradually this gesture of homage turned into a duel, then into a real head on battle between those throwing from the balconies and the others from the street. Only after the Second World War did the battle take on the form we know today, following set rules. There can be no doubt that this is the most spectacular moment of the whole event, clearly depicting the fight for freedom, the symbol of Ivrea’s Carnival. Together with all the historical events in the Carnival at Ivrea, the orange battle constitutes an incredible cultural and goliardic heritage, making the Carnival one of the most important on the national and international scene. Throwing oranges is also the event in which most people can be involved: anyone can do it by becoming a member of one of the nine foot teams or of one of the groups throwing from a cart.

Historic Carnival of Ivrea web site

Video "Lo spettacolo delle Arance"

The carnival of Ivrea
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