Sunday, February 17, 2013


Carnivale, also known as Mardi Gras, is celebrated throughout Italy with parades, masquerade balls, parties, entertainment, and lots of confetti, and even orange throwing. Speaking of orange throwing, we had the pleasure of experiencing first hand Lo Storico Carnevale di Ivrea where La Battaglia delle Arance (the battle of the oranges) takes places. Ivrea, a small town near Torino, is best known for this three day carnival where thousands of townspeople participate in nine teams and throw oranges at each other. One of the townspeople is elected the Mugnaia, who in the legend was the miller's daughter, who refused to spend the night with the local duke, and instead chopped his head off. The carriages represent the duke's guard and the orange throwers represent the revolutionaries of the tale. It is unknown why oranges are used considering the 270,000 kg (around 600,000 lbs) have to be imported from Sicily each year. Before oranges were used, they threw beans and then apples.


Visitors can't throw oranges from the crates, but can throw the smashed oranges on the ground at the carts. We were told that if we purchased a red hat we'd be safe from the flying oranges. This was not true. Many of us were covered in blood orange juice by the end of the day.

If you have the opportunity to go, do it! It was unlike anything else you could ever see or participate in. The carnival was completely free. The only expense was the 3 to 5 euro red hat that was supposed to be our protection. The streets also had stands of carnival pastries, including the warm nutella filled doughnuts called frittelli.

We are about to go to Venice to experience the end of their famous carnival. There are also many smaller carnivals happening all around Italy right now. The other night, I went to one in a tiny town close to Ivrea where elaborate floats circled around the streets, music blasted, and confetti was thrown everywhere. 

If you are here during carnival season, take the time to join in on the celebrations!

Hannah and Erin

No comments:

Post a Comment