The Carnival of Ivrea is an event to live, not to explain. This sentence was told me before going there. But today I tried anyway to tell you something about Ivrea Carnival, giving you some tips to go there.
But first of all: Do you kwon what is Ivrea Carnival? The Carnival of Ivrea is also told “Carnevale delle Arance” (Oranges Carnival) because of the battle of the oranges. It is an historical event that is hold in Ivrea, in Piedmont, during Carnival period. But the Ivrea Carnival is completely different from other Carnival events in Italy. The focus of the Carnival of Ivrea is the battle of oranges, with horses and pitcher, and it is not only a Carnival Festival but a reenacment of a historical event.
Every year in Italy there are controversies on this event but personally the Historic Carnival of Ivrea has excited me, struck me the battle, the chariots and the marches, of course, but above all what has impressed me most is the way in which the people of Ivrea live this festival: with passion and heart.
In any case, my goal is not to open a debate on the Carnival of Ivrea but only to share some useful information for those planning to go there, just as my Ivrea friends did with me.
Below my tips to take part of the Ivrea Carnival.
Tips to go to the Carnival of Ivrea
Which clothes to go to the Carnival of Ivrea
Whether you decide to participate in the battle of the oranges of the Ivrea Carnival whether you prefer to be mere spectators remember to wear shoes that do not slip and possibly waterproof. The streets and squares of Ivrea after the battle are fill of the oranges residues it is very slippery.
If you participate in the battle of the oranges you wear clothes that you do not fear to soil (or ruin). The orange throwers of Ivrea wear their uniform but a waterproof jacket should be fine. In any case, even if you do not participate in the battle I recommend avoiding clothes that can be damaged because it still could get some sketches.
Remember that you can watch the battle from behind the protective networks but in any case I suggest you to wear the traditional red hat sign of your “neutrality” (it is called “Berretto frigio” or Phrygian hat).
The Phrygian hat of Ivrea
Upon arriving you will see that almost everyone wearing a strange red cap that falls sideways on his head. This is the Phrygian cap, a symbol of freedom and above all a sign of neutrality.
You can buy it in the city in one of the many stalls or in stores and it is essential if you want to visit Ivrea during the days of Carnival without fear of becoming a target for the launch of oranges! Remember that the fact of the historical Carnival of Ivrea origins are very old and are linked to a struggle for freedom so that even Napoleon when he arrived in the city decided to grant permission to celebrate the carnival because it was consistent with his ideals! 😉
Where to park in Ivrea during the carnival
The historic center of the city of Ivrea is closed during the days of the carnival, but there are many parking fee from where you can reach the center on foot or by shuttle buses.
One of the free parking is behind the station, where there is a “Supermarket Bennett“, from which you can reach the limits of the zone “accessible” via an overhead bridge.
Ivrea Carnival with kids
If you are wondering if you can go to the Carnival of Ivrea with kids in my opinion the answer is yes. Keep in mind that Carnival is a celebration and you’ll see many children, with the Phrygian cap or the uniform of the small orange throwers. There are even some shooting ranges dedicated to children: there oranges from carts are pulled very slowly but children are not delicate as well.
Children can watch the battle of the oranges from behind the safety net. From there there is no danger of being hit, but younger children may be afraid (there are many people, a lot of noise and oranges “fly” to the cart). Finally, remember that in shooting ranges you can not get with the stroller and that the roads could be slippery in general.
When we went to the Carnival of Ivrea in the city had been set up some “kids points” dedicated to families with younger children with a changing table with everything you need for gearbox and an armchair for breastfeeding.
Take part in the orange battle of Ivrea Carnival
One in Ivrea you’ll see many orange crates stacked in the firing ranges and if you want to participate in the battle of the oranges remember a few rules:
- To shoot using oranges of speakers you have to pay a ticket, but if you want to do it for free, you can pick oranges falls to the ground after each wagon and always use them.
- Protect your eyes holding your arm raised above the face when you pull (oranges on the body to the maximum will procure bruises but on eyes are dangerous)
- Avoid wearing eyeglasses or sunglasses
- Be careful with to the “long pulls” (… orange …): when the car is coming from the square, stay protected.
- Bring a bag (or plastic bag) to put the oranges to launch: otherwise you will pull at maximum three to each tank then you’ll remain without oranges … just as it happened to me!
Take pictures during the Carnival Ivrea
If you want to shoot during the battle remember to protect your camera from splashes by wrapping it in a plastic bag.
Where to see the Carnival in Ivrea
If you are interested in seeing the battle of the oranges remember that they are only in clearly defined areas. In each area you’ll find different teams. According me the three most evocative shot areas are:
- “Borghetto” district (where pulls the Tuchini team),
- “Ottinetti” Square (where pulls the “Scacchi” team and the “Scorpioni di Arduino” team)
- “Piazza di Città” square (where there is the town hall and it pulls the “Picche“team and “La Morte” team).
The historic Carnival of Ivrea, however, is an ancient and complex event that goes far beyond the days of the battle of the oranges. Events and re-enactments take place in Ivrea during all the days of Carnival and the battle of the oranges is just one fragment. The historical processions move through the streets and squares of the city – including shooting ranges – and along the “Dora” river.
When to go to Ivrea Carnival
The Battle of Ivrea with oranges take place on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. But every day there are interesting events such as the ceremony of “Preda in Dora” on the “Ponte Vecchio” (Old bridge), the oath of allegiance of the Magnificent Podestà in “Piazza Castello” (Castle Square), the distribution of fat beans, the Burning of the Scarlo and many more events including fireworks.
All these events are part of the tradition and re-enactments of the history of the city of Ivrea. You can check the program on the website of the Historic Carnival of Ivrea.
Where to buy tickets for the Carnical of Ivrea
During Carnival you need to buy a ticket to enter in Ivrea. It is possible buy it to one of the “Info Point” which are located at each entry door in Ivrea (except for residents and children under 12 years). At the “IAT office” (Tourism Office) which is located in “Piazza Otinetti” you can book a guided tour that takes place in the morning and you will learn more about the city of Ivrea and the Carnival.
Where to eat in Ivrea
Bar, shops and restaurants are open during the carnival in Ivrea and normally are “covered” by nets or plastic canopies to withstand damage during the battle. You’ll will find also many stalls with the classic sandwich with sausage and mulled wine, many of them also have tables and benches to eat there.
Is it safe to go to the Carnival of Ivrea?
This question it is the one that I was asked by many before and after being at this event and is also the one that triggers more controversy. I can tell you only my opinion based on how I experienced the historic Carnival of Ivrea.
In my opinion there is no danger as long as you respect “the rules” of the carnival. This means that if you want to watch the battle of the oranges just stay behind the guards and that’s a good idea to wear the Phrygian cap if you do not want to be affected (or at least a red cap).
If you want to experience the thrill of participating in the battle of the oranges like us you have to remember that it is a battle, and as such should be considered. Protect your face and wearing appropriate footwear are just two small tips that were given to me and that I carry to you.
In any case you will see – almost certainly – some “aranceri” (orange shooter) with injuries. As far as I could see people of Ivrea participating in the battle accepting the risks. To be clear you will see them go right up to the floats and engage in “head to head” with the pitchers. Before judging, however, you have to think that the event is very old and is part of the traditions (and heart) of the city of Ivrea. And in fact looking good you will also notice that after the clash, often those on the floats removes his helmet to greet or joking with exactly this shooter which until a moment before flying oranges.
Then of course everyone has their own opinion … Finally, if you want to get an idea of the Carnival of Ivrea like we lived we can watch our video below!