The Battle of the Oranges (Carnevale di Ivrea) is one of the craziest and most widely-anticipated festivals in Italy. The medieval tradition, which was established in 1808, is a three-day long festival that takes place just before the equally incredible Mardi Gras and is considered one of the craziest food fight festivals around. Over 100,000 spectators travel to Ivrea to witness and join in this exciting carnival yearly. The Battle of Ivrea is perhaps the best marriage of both history and good fun; an outdoor event where spectators get a chance to relive one of the most significant turning points in Italy’s past. As its name implies, you’ll be seeing lots of oranges: you can join one of the organized groups to throw them around!
The event mimics the civil war between the Royal Napoleonic Troops and the people of Ivrea following the murder of the tyrant Rainieri di Biandrate. The organized “battle” tells the story of a people who are rebelling against a tyrannical government. It is composed of squads where the orange throwers, known as the aranceri (who represent the people) defend the piazzas by tossing the citrus fruits (which represent arrows) from the carts (which represent the Napoleonic troops); creating one of the most unusual carnivals in the world. Historical personalities involved in the civil war are also represented, including the Mugnaia (miller’s daughter), and her cortege who generously distribute gifts to those who join in. The Battle of the Oranges is accompanied by vibrant, ostentatious floats as well as talented musical and folkoristic groups that visit from all corners of Italy and Europe. Read more
‘Experience this one-of-a-kind tradition steeped in history as you join in the revelry set in the stunning medieval streets of Ivrea; home to artistic, historic, and natural treasures.’
Turin airport is only an hour away. Logistically, this is easy. If you just want to spectate, it’s fine to wander around the city watching the fighting. Red hats are on almost everyone: these denote you are a non-combatant and should be treated as such. But for a fuller experience, reach out to some of the tribes a month in advance, ideally with an Italian speaker. Do not show up on the day and expect to join a tribe. Read more
The Battle of the Oranges takes place right on Ivrea’s city center, beautiful historic town that will take you back in time with its jaw-dropping medieval architecture. Did you know that the town’s origins dates back to 100 BC? History buff or not, it’s hard not to appreciate the sheer beauty and palatial nature of the old buildings in town.
Anyone can join in the Battle of the Oranges, but instead of watching it from afar, the best way to enjoy it is to participate in the revelry itself! However, keep in mind that this citrus civil war reenactment means that everyone gets hit by a few oranges. If this isn’t your cup of tea, there is always the option of watching from afar.
There are several hotels, guesthouses, and inns that cater to visitors traveling for the event. For an authentic Italian experience, check out the homestays and make friends with your lovely hosts. Head to the map below for the best accommodation deals during the festival.
After participating in a day, two, or three of the Battle of the Oranges, make sure to get some rest because you’re going to want to explore and experience the rest that the city has to offer.
Start with the iconic Ivrea castle, Piazza Castello, Ivrea Cathedral and Crypt, and the Roman Ampitheatre. Sink your teeth into the legendary cuisine of Italy, down an espresso – Italian style, and marvel in the architecture. Book an excursion to Turin, or go see the rest of Italy.
The Battle of the Oranges will take place from February 22 to 25, 2020.
Rad Season is providing you with hotels and Airbnbs at the lowest prices available online. Book your stay for Battle Of The Oranges 2020 using the map below!
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