CARNEVALE DI IVREA - THE HEIGHT OF ITALIAN COLOUR

Wayne M. Gore - May 11, 2009
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Celebration of historical events creates great colour. Event typifies the cultural thirst for the spectacular.

 

The Southern European people have often been associated with colourful events reflecting passion and a keenness to go a little crazy if need be. The tomato festival in Spain is a great example of the colour red being used to express passion and blood. The Italians on the other hand, perhaps in order not to copy their Spanish neighbours, use oranges to represent legendary events and firmly put the Piemonte region city of Ivrea on the map.

Just north of Turin, Ivrea is not known for growing oranges. In fact, they are imported from Sicily, which is indicative of their significance. The highlight of the whole carnival is a fascinating orange throwing war in which nine teams in medieval costumes enact an ancient battle. This event relates back to 1194 when legend has it that a miller’s daughter refused to have an affair with a duke of the area, so she cut his head off. Apples were originally used to commemorate this period of Italian history, until oranges were deemed more suited to represent the bloody element.

The orange festival shall take place next year between the 13th and 16th of February. Orange will not be the only colour involved, as red hats shall be sold at the train station for those who don’t wish to be pelted with ripe fruit. The parade and fierce battle then takes place before a Scarli pole, a tall pole covered with dried branches, is set alight. This is another spectacle of bright colours.

Some may argue that this kind of festivals is outdated and a little too brutal for many tourists. However, its originality is not to be doubted. Of course you do not have to get covered in oranges, just looking at the festival is sure to stay in the memory forever.

 

Related:

GASTRO TOURISTS HEAD TO THE MUSEUM OF OLIVE

 

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