How a Medieval Italian Revolt Turned Into a Modern Day Food Fight


According to legend, women waged war against unsavory lords, sparking the tradition.

The following article, written by Catherine Edwards, appears on The Local.

Italy is home to many spectacular spring carnivals, from masks and extravagant costumes in Venice to political satire in Viareggio. But one of the most unusual festivals takes place in a small town in northwestern Italy, where thousands gather each February to wage war, with oranges.

The three-day food fight in Ivrea, Piedmont has taken place each year since 1808, making 2018 the carnival’s 210th edition.

Huge crowds descend on the city for the Battle of the Oranges, a messy fight believed to commemorate a revolt against the monarchy. The festivities kicked off on Sunday and continued thru Tuesday, February 13th, the day before Ash Wednesday and the Christian festival of Lent.

According to legend, a 12th century rebellion began after a baron visited a peasant girl on the eve of her wedding, hoping to exercise the right medieval lords supposedly had to have sex with any women from the lower classes.

But the girl fought back, beheading the baron and marching around the town with his head, an action which sparked a peasant uprising. Continue reading at The Local.

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