The story where commoners rise up against an oppressive ruler is indeed a very common one. However, at the Carnevale di Ivrea, the battle isn't waged with guns and swords, but instead, by throwing oranges at the opposing side.

 This event is a recreation of a historic fight between townsfolk and a ruling tyrant during the olden times and is played with teams waging a full-on fruit war.

Local legend states that at some time between the 12th and 13th centuries, Ivrea's lord attempted to rape the daughter of a miller on the eve of her wedding, exercising his "Right of the Lord" which gives him the benefit of taking the virginity of his serfs' daughters. But his plans were trumped by the young woman as she took him by surprise and decapitated him. And with that, she also set the town free from their lords' oppression. What ensued was the battle of the townspeople against the lord's henchmen, who were elevated in horse-drawn carts.

Today, that story of the struggle between the classes is represented and reenacted by the town folk wearing jesters' outfit to represent the lord's followers and commoners on their feet in sporting uniforms. The main heroine of the story, Violetta, is represented by a woman dressed in white and a crimson-red headdress, who throws yellow flowers and candies to her admirers. The oranges represent the tyrannical lord's head.

For travelers who want to partake and enjoy, the carnival takes place on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The orange battle starts Sunday at 2pm while in the evening prior, a joyous procession pays respect to the woman standing in for the miller's daughter. The festival ends on Mardi Gras and concludes with a sword-wielding Violetta watching over a pole with juniper and heather bushes. Local lore defines that if the pole burns fast and bright, the future looks good while a slow burn is a bad omen for the coming year.