Theregion of northwestern bordering on France to the west and Switzerland to the north is particularly known for its wines. So you have one more reason to enjoy Carnevale in this lovely region. hosts several Carnevales but only one is known as the . It is held in the town of Ivrea, population about 25 thousand, located some 28 miles (about 45 kilometers) northeast of the regional capital Turin and (if you were a participant in the Turin Winter Olympics of 2006) only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the French speaking enclave of Val d’Aosta.
The Ivrea Carnevale is unique; its central attraction is a food fight. Every year more than 400 tons of oranges are launched at the participants who of course include the onlookers. But if you don’t mind the occasional bruise you’ll love this Carnevale. Its history goes way back to the Twelfth Century when a newly wed miller’s daughter beheaded an evil count who tried to abuse her. So each year the Piedmont Carnevale is opened by a newly wed who symbolizes that brave young woman of days gone by. She is not alone; she is accompanied and defended by more than one thousanded townspeople and soldiers.
Then forty decorated horses carry festooned, orange throwing riders through the town piazzas, each defended by rebelling commoners armed with oranges. This is the mother of all food fights. Once upon a time instead of oranges the missiles were beans. It seems the local gentry gave the populace beans and the dissatisfied people threw them back. Maybe they wanted oranges, or simply more respect.
Beans still play a role in this Carnevale. The Piedmont specialty, fagioli grassi, made from beans, sausages, and bacon rind is prepared in industrial quantities and freely distributed. And this food does not go to waste. Be sure to enjoy other great Piedmont dishes such as salam duja (a pork shoulder salami made with Barbera wine), capunet (deep fried cabbage leaves stuffed with beef), Toma cheese, and pastries such as the local bugie, whose ingredients include white wine. Don’t forget to savor these delicacies with Piedmont wine. You don’t have to empty your pockets to find one that’s fairly good. And the sometimes fabulous and always pricey Barolo DOCG is not really meant for Carnevale food.
Piedmont is home to several other Carnevales, none of which feature food fights. Here are some of the additional sites. Castellamonte, can you guess what it’s name means?, is a town of about 10,000 located about 55 miles (35 kilometers) north of Turin. Chivasso is a city of approximately 25,000 situated approximately 12 miles (20 kilometers) northeast of Turin. Domodossola is a city of about 20,000 at the foot of the Italian Alps. During World War II this proud city rose up against the Nazis and their Italian collaborators and was the heart of a short-lived republic.