Annual Italy Events
- Carnevale of Ivrea
- 06 Jan
- Historical Center Ivrea - Ivrea
- Traditional Folklore Festivals
Here, in this northwestern Italian town near Torino, one of the strangest and most ancient Italian carnival celebrations takes place every year. Although the tomato throwing battle "La Tomatina" which takes place the last week of August in Bunol, Spain (http://www.lahoya.net/tomatina/) claims to be the world's largest food fight, they are incorrect in their claim...THIS is the world's largest food fight without a doubt!
The origins of the festival go back to the twelfth century when there was a popular uprising against the tyrant Count Ranieri. He had claimed first night's rights with all new brides and ran into the wrong person. A newly betrothed miller's daughter, Violetta, beheaded the amorous count and showed his head from his bedroom balcony. This sparked a popular revolution of the people which founded the roots of today's orange battle. Every year there is a new Mugnaia (miller's daughter) chosen who is the heroine of the festivities and is accompanied by a corollary of characters that represent the historical heritage of the town including: the General and his staff, soldiers, musicians and more than 1,500 masked characters that perform in historical parades and pageants throughout the period. Then, 400 tons of oranges are used as ammunition as rival factions battle in a satirical but well-fought re-enactment of the peoples revolt against their lords many centuries ago (these orangey battles begin on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 2:30 in the afternoon).
There are more than 40 carri (decorated horse drawn carts) that carry 12 paying throwers (who represent the castle) through the 5 piazzas of the city where over 3,500 rebellious warriors representing 9 teams attempt to overwhelm them with their vicious orange throwing techniques. The winning team is determined by a jury who takes into account the decorations of the piazza (each team gets a half of a piazza to decorate) and the fury and accuracy of their orange throwing talents. The streets, walls and participants take on the color of the squashed and splattered fruit. Events draw to an end with the final burning of the scarli (which are large wooden poles) and a codfish and polenta feast in the Borghetto area of the city plus, during breaks in the ceremonies, there are dishes of fat beans being handed out (a tradition which dates back to 1325).
The population of the town (25,000 residents) quadruples for the event and it's impossible to drive through the streets as most of them are closed for traffic control or to allow the carri to pass by. Most hotels are booked a month in advance but a night's stay is really not necessary to witness the battles. If you want to submerge into the fabric of the people and the true meaning of the events then a night or two stay is very much recommended. This celebration is a very deep and integral part of the people's life here and the time you take to understand it will be well worth your while. As violent as it is, ther eis no Carnivale more animated than this one.
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Annual Events in Italy
In this section we are compiling a list of Italy events which occur more or less on the same day on an annual basis.
They have been grouped by theme and behind each link is a description of the event, its location, as well as external links to help you plan further.
You can also find an event from the calendar below.
The list is by no means exhaustive, but they are events we know and recommend. With special thanks also to Dan Hostetler for giving us permission to adapt some of his original texts.