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.