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In Italy,
an Orange
to the Face

If you’re planning to visit the northern Italian town of Ivrea this Sunday, make sure to wear a red hat. It’s something of a white flag, a sign that you are a non-combatant. This is key, because unlike the Spaniards of Buñol, these revelers don’t throw tomatoes or other soft fruit at each other. In Ivrea, oranges are the official projectiles of Historical Carnival. Skip the red hat, and there’s a good chance you’ll be hit in the face by one. Unsurprisingly, injuries are common at the Historical Carnival celebrations.

Meant as a reenactment of the city’s liberation from tyranny during Medieval times, the Ivrea Carnival is a wild month-long festival that includes distributing Fat Beans to the poor, electing a new Mugnaia (Miller’s Daughter) in a beauty pageant, and, of course, chucking oranges.

During the parade, the miller’s daughter throws mimosas and candies. Photo: Stefania Bosso

During the battle, orange-throwers on foot attack the feudal lord’s army, represented by people on horse-drawn carriages who wear protective masks reminiscent of ancient armor. But really, anyone who isn’t wearing a berretto frigio (the traditional red hat) is fair game. From the frontlines of Ivrea, photographer Stefania Bosso put her face (and camera) in the line of fire to bring us this photo report.

Stefania Bosso
Stefania Bosso is a photographer based in Italy.

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