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Ivrea Battle of the Oranges 2024

This celebration of the freedom costs 500,000 kilos of fruit and probably that many orange-sized bruises but locals know it's worth the price

Dates: February 11-13, 2024

Ivrea Battle of the Oranges
Ivrea Battle of the Oranges
Ivrea Battle of the Oranges
Ivrea Battle of the Oranges

The battle of the oranges or Battaglia delle Arance is a part of the annual historical festival held in the medieval city of Ivrea at the foot of the Alps. Locals wage the orange war to commemorate a victory of commons over the tyrant rulers. According to narrations, it happened around the 12th century. A tyrannic lord attempted to rape one of his servants who was about to get married. Unexpectedly the girl turned out to be too freedom-loving to resign herself. She decapitated the tyrant with a sword and that way sparkled a general rebellion. The commoners were fighting on foot against the lord's henchmen who were carried in horse-drawn carts, just like in modern reenactments.

Locals take the fight as a serious business. Nine teams of 4,000 participate in the violent skirmish. The foreigners are also allowed to participate in the orange battle, lasting for three days, but they have to pay a fee. Before applying, you should be aware of gashes and orange-sized bruises—these are very likely to happen.

Besides the actual participants, the action draws nearly 100,000 observers. They are supposed to wear red berets to prevent themselves from unwanted attack and non-slip shoes. It's also recommended to stay behind the safety nets.

The carnival takes place on Sunday to Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday. The battle itself occurs on Monday.

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Last updated:
Authors: Olha Savych