In Pictures

In pictures: The battle of the oranges

Gathering in the main square Image copyright Andrea Capello

Once a year, in the run-up to Shrove Tuesday, the citizens of the old medieval town of Ivrea, in Italy, gather in the main square to hurl oranges at each other.

As the town prepares to celebrate once more, we look at the pictures by photographer Andrea Capello who documented the event last year.

The origin of the so-called Battle of the Oranges dates back to medieval times and is said to commemorate the day the townsfolk were liberated from the harsh rule of an evil duke.

The legend goes that the miller's daughter, Violetta, cut off the duke's head when he tried to claim his right to sleep with young brides on their wedding night. This led the town to rise up and burn down the duke's castle.

The battle represents the struggle between the supporters of the duke and those of Violetta.

The band of Pipers and Drummers Image copyright Andrea Capello
Image caption The band of pipers and drummers leads the parades through the square.
Violetta, the main character of the carnival, Image copyright Andrea Capello
Image caption Each year, a married woman is chosen to play the part of Violetta.
The battle rages Image copyright Andrea Capello
Image caption The Battle of the Oranges is fought for three days leading up to Shrove Tuesday.
Oranges are thrown Image copyright Andrea Capello
Image caption The throwers on carts head into the town square, battling against those on foot.
A member of the orange thrower team of Tuchini del Borghetto Image copyright ANDREA CAPELLO
Image caption A member of the orange-thrower team of Tuchini del Borghetto shows passion and dedication to the cause.
Throwing oranges from a cart Image copyright Andrea Capello
Image caption It's a messy business with hits celebrated on both sides.
Carnival is a tradition, it's the history of a community and everything that holds this city together Image copyright Andrea Capello
Image caption But after the battle there is a chance for those on both sides to enjoy tales of the fight.
Bruised shoulder Image copyright Andrea Capello
Image caption There are injuries.
A man with an injured nose Image copyright Andrea Capello
Image caption Some are bloody but unbowed.
Over 700 tons of oranges are used during the battle Image copyright Andrea Capello
Image caption More than 700 tonnes of oranges are used during the battle.
After the battle, everything that is collected Image copyright Andrea Capello
Image caption After the battle, everything is collected and taken to a recycling centre.

All photographs courtesy Andrea Capello.