The Carnival of Ivrea is a festival in the Northern Italian city of Ivrea, which includes a tradition of throwing of oranges between organized groups, known as the Battle of the Oranges. It is the largest food fight in Italy and surrounding countries.
Regarding the origins, a popular account has it that the battle commemorates the city's defiance against the city's tyrant, who is either a member of the Ranieri family or a conflation of the 12th-century Ranieri di Biandrate and the 13th-century Marquis William VII of Montferrat. This tyrant attempted to rape a young commoner (often specified as a miller's daughter) on the evening of her wedding, supposedly exercising the droit du seigneur. The tyrant's plan backfired when the young woman instead decapitated him, after which the populace stormed and burned the palace. Each year, a young girl is chosen to play the part of Violetta, the defiant young woman.
Every year the citizens remember their liberation with the Battle of the Oranges, where teams of aranceri (orange handlers) on foot throw oranges (representing old weapons and stones) against aranceri riding in carts (representing the tyrant's ranks). During the 19th-century French occupation of Italy, the Carnival of Ivrea was modified to add representatives of the French army. Another adaptation of the story has the oranges used to symbolize the removed testicles of the tyrant.
The oldest rituals of Ivrea Carnival include a large bonfire and are similar to ancient celebrations linked to the end of winter and the rise of the new spring.
The battle has been on hiatus since 2021, and will return in 2023. Other cancellations occurred in 1915–18 & 1940–45.