When we heard there was going to be an orange fight in Italy, we had to be there. Here are some of the best photographs taken by our roaming writer-photographer, Kiki Deere.
The small town of Ivrea, 55km north of Turin, hosts one of Italy’s most exuberant carnivals. Dating back to the end of the twelfth century, the Historic Carnival of Ivrea culminates in the Battle of the Oranges, a boisterous event in which participants launch 600,000kg of oranges at one another over the course of three days.
Nine combat teams re-enact the civil war that broke out when the town's tyrant attempted to exercise his droit du seigneur on the daughter of a local miller, who was quick to cut the tyrant's head off. A battle ensued between the townsfolk and the tyrant’s guards, symbolised today by teams of aranceri, or orange handlers, riding carts who clash against more aranceri on foot, who represent the townspeople.
Today, a married woman is elected each year to represent the miller’s daughter, and is considered the Queen of the Carnival. Spectators wear red Phyrigian Hats to avoid being pelted with oranges, while nets are draped over buildings throughout town, providing a safety barrier for onlookers. The misshapen oranges, destined to landfill, come from Calabria and Sicily.
Crowds Gather in the square to greet this year’s miller’s daughter
The miller’s daughter greets the crowds
Cheering and chanting as the mugnaia waves at the audience
A team initiate two new members for the Battle of the Oranges
The Nobili Alfieri throw oranges at full speed from their cart
Oranges fly in the air as teams pelt one another
La Contea di Montenavale pelt the Picche team from their cart
Guards battle against aranceri on foot
The Difensori di San Lorenzo bombard orange handlers on foot
The Arduini team get ready to pelt oranges
A participant picking up oranges for the next battle
A dog, much like spectators, wears a Phyrigian hat so participants know not to throw oranges at him
Guards fight back
Orange mushed into ground
two members of the Diavoli team have a game fight
The Mercenari team have a short rest
Cleaning the streets before the arrival of the miller’s daughter
The Diavoli team enjoying a well-deserved break
Ivrea’s town hall square is one of the major sights of the battle
A cart circles the square
A layer of orange pulp coats the ground
Matteo, a proud member of the Diavoli team
waiting for the next battle
A family poses for a photo
A pole covered with heather and juniper bush burns in the main square