Wednesday Wishlist #3 | The Jaunts we wish we were going on…
It’s a double whammy on our Wednesday Wishlist this week, as there’s a brilliant Jaunting opportunity this weekend that we just can’t let roll by without drawing to your attention.
Logistically, a weekend Jaunt in the UK is relatively easy. You can be out of work and on a train by 18.30, in the countryside by 19.30 and sitting down to a sociable group meal with a glass of prosecco in hand by 8 o’ clock.
But occasionally, we like to get a little further out of town. And this weekend, if not Skiing in Scotland, then where we’d really like to whisk ourselves (and you!) off to is Ivrea in Italy…
Storico Carnevale di Ivrea
In the run up to Ash Wednesday, the streets of the tiny town of Ivrea near Turin are transformed into a raging battleground filled with horse-drawn carts, mercenaries and… oranges.
The setting is idyllic, the Carnevale historic, and the weaponry both refreshing and delicious. Mmm, yes please — this sounds like a Jaunt!
At the heart of the Storico Carnevale di Ivrea is the Battle of the Oranges (Battaglia delle Arance) — a classic food fight that rivals even that scene from Hook in terms of food fights that you want to be a part of.
These days the reasoning for the battle is doubtless because it’s brilliant fun to pelt each other with oranges across the historic streets of Ivrea, but the battle’s origins are steeped in history and have a whole load more substance to them.
As Fest300 outlines:
Legend says that 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 ‘droit du seigneur’ (right of the lord) to take the virginity of his serfs’ daughters. In a twist of fate, the plan backfired, and the rebellious young woman decapitated him. With one brave strike of her sword, she set the town free from his oppression. The townspeople battled against the lord’s henchmen, who were elevated in horse-drawn carts while they were on ground level.
As far as we’re concerned, the lord was bang out of order and he got what was coming to him. Ain’t karma a bitch.
With its historic significance, and with the weight of expectation looming large each year, there’s a long build-up to the Battaglia delle Arance and preparations start well in advance. Interested Jaunters however can roll right up by road from Turin, just in time for the food fight. At that point, there’s only one thing you’ve got to decide…
To be a Fred-Durst-red-cap, or not to be Fred-Durst-red-cap?
The Berretto Frigio, or red hat, is your only hope of protection once the battle commences. Anyone sporting the Berretto Frigio is a non-combatant and so off limits for your oranges — everyone else is fair game.
The combatants are split into the Lord’s forces and the rebellious denizens of Ivrea. As Fest300 puts it:
Today, this struggle between the classes is represented by “the lord’s followers” in carts wearing jesters’ outfits, and “commoners” on their feet in sporting uniforms. The miller’s daughter, Violetta, is represented by a woman dressed in white and a crimson-red headdress, who throws yellow flowers and candies to her admirers.
It’s estimated that the warring factions of Ivrea get through around 500kg of fresh oranges before the battle is over. Formerly the Battle of the Beans, the change in ammunition came about thanks to local girls throwing oranges to get the attention of the most attractive bachelors of Ivrea. The handsome devils started throwing them back, and before you knew it, we’ve got an annual fruit battle and probably the only festival in the world that can rival King’s Day for the ubiquity of the colour orange.
God, we’re glad the girls ran out of beans!
It’s not hard to see why the Carnevale has found its way onto our Jaunting Wishlist. It’s a historic bonanza of action and competition, and a sensational party to boot. For the locals, it’s a highlight of the year. And based on the video below, we can understand why…
So how does this one rate in terms of the three things that define our Jaunts — Action, Indulgence and Social Spice?
Whilst perhaps not right up there in terms of Indulgence, it’s off the chart for both Action and Social Spice. And once the battle is finished, you could always head off for a couple of days wine tasting, or back to Turin for some pampering.
One thing’s for sure, you’ll remember this Jaunt for years!
For part I of this week’s Wednesday Wishlist — Skiing with the Scots — click here.
WeJaunt curates and coordinates stand-out short trips and memorable weekend breaks for young professionals. Our Jaunts are carefree trips that put the focus on meeting new people, doing new things and making the most of your free time.