Carnival Clash: Italy's Battle of the Oranges
Italy stages its biggest food fight each year in the Piedmont town of Ivrea, where thousands gather each year before Lent to re-enact a medieval battle by hurling oranges at each other. By the end of it the entire town is awash with Vitamin C.
Orange fetishists are well advised to visit the northern Italian town of Ivrea, 35 kilometers from Turin, on the Sunday before Lent when the townsfolk stage their annual Battle of the Oranges, the country's largest fruit fight.
The ceremony, part of the town's historic carnival, marks the rebellion of the people against tyrannical lords who ruled the town in the Middle Ages. Each year a carnival mascot is chosen from the town's schoolchildren to play "Violetta", a beautiful girl who in medieval times refused the advances of a lord and came to represent the victory of freedom over tyranny.
Please include your name and your city and country of residence.
Initially, beans were thrown but in the 19th century, girls started to throw oranges -- more valuable because they aren't grown in this region of Italy -- at the boys they found attractive. If the feeling was mutual, the boys would throw the oranges back at them in a practice far simpler and more effective than Internet dating.
Eventually the medieval battle-cum-courtship-ritual turned into a contest, with prizes awarded in the Town Hall where jurors declare the winners.
Stay informed with our free news services:
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2008
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH
Corriere della Sera
MORE FROM SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL
German PoliticsMerkel's Moves: Power Struggles in Berlin
World War IITruth and Reconciliation: Why the War Still Haunts Europe
EnergyGreen Power: The Future of Energy
European UnionUnited Europe: A Continental Project
Climate ChangeGlobal Warming: Curbing Carbon Before It's Too Late