Discovering the Carnival: The Battle of the Oranges

Discovering the Carnival: The Battle of the Oranges

The Battle of the Oranges is the most spectacular part of the historical Carnival of Ivrea, and a fantastic representation of the town’s rebellion against the tyrant. The Battle of the Oranges is fought for three days, from Sunday to Shrove Tuesday. It is played between the nine teams on foot, who represent the people who revolted, and the ‘Aranceri’ (orange-throwers) on horse drawn carriages, who play the role of the feudal armies. Often criticized, rightly so, due to its violence, the battle is a heady mix of enthusiasm and earnest dedication. Each of the nine teams have their own established location in the city: the Asso di Picche is the oldest team and was founded in 1947. Their pitch for throwing is the main town square, which is shared with the Aranceri della Morte (1954) team. Ottinetti square is instead home to the Scacchi (1964) and the Scorpioni di Arduino (1966), while the Tuchini del Borghetto (1964) are the only ones throwing from the right bank of the Dora Baltea. Piazza del Rondolino is where the Pantera Nera (1966), the Diavoli (1973) and the Mercenari (1974) fight. Finally, the last group formed are the Credendari Aranceri (1985), who shoot from Freguglia square. Throwers on carts are divided into pairs (two horses) and quadrilles (four shots). They alternate heading into the town squares for a few minutes, giving life to battles against the teams on foot. Horses are considered to be the main stars of the event, they have always been taken care of with great love and respect, and in fact, during the first half of July, this is the site of the San Savino fair, the second largest equestrian event held in Italy.
It is worth remembering obligation to wear the traditional Phrygian Cap from Maundy Thursday, always best to follow the rules if you wish to avoid any unpleasant encounters.

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