Lonely Planet Writer

The Italian town of Ivrea holds its annual orange battle

Last weekend saw the town of Ivrea in the Piedmont region of north-west Italy holding its annual orange battle as part of the Ivrea Carnival 2017.

Ivrea Orange Battle
People in the town of Ivrea take part in the annual orange battle. Image by Awakening/Getty Images

Dating back to 1808, the carnival is one of the oldest festivals in all of Italy, and features a range of traditional re-enactments, parades and activities. One such example is the Battle of the Oranges, a much loved event that sees the people of the town re-imagining the war that broke out between the people of Ivrea and Royal Napoleonic troops the day a tyrannical family was overthrown in the 12-Century. The battle is made up of squads of aranceri, or orange throwers on foot and those in carts representing the Napoleonic troops.

People participating in the event wear protective helmets and padding from the oranges, while sweets and presents are distributed to spectators. This is followed by a traditional procession through the streets, including floats, musicians and folk groups from all over Italy. Thousands of people attend the three day carnival, which began last Sunday and ends on Shrove Tuesday. Onlookers wear bright red hats to distinguish them from those taking part in the orange fight. A similar event is held each year in Bunol, Spain that sees people pelting each other with tomatoes

Get the top travel news stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday by signing up to our newsletter.