Pulp flies in traditional orange battle during Carnival in northern Italy

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IVREA, Italy (AP) — Over three pulpy days, nearly 1,000 tons of oranges were thrown in the recreation of a medieval battle that has become the centerpiece of the northern Italian town of Ivrea’s annual Carnival celebration.

Some 50 horse-drawn carriages transport the oranges to piazzas throughout the town, where teams gather to pelt each other with oranges. It’s not long before the aranceri, or orange throwers, are drenched in pulp. Bystanders also get caught in the spray.

The origin of the massive food fight is believed to date to around 1,200 and the revolt against a tyrannical baron, resulting in his overthrow, the destruction of his castle and the creation of a free municipality.

The battle was originally waged with beans, transitioning to oranges sometime along the way. The northern Piedmont region is not known for its orange groves and the biodegradable ammunition arrives from southern Italy.

Organizers say it is a waste-free event, since they purchase oranges that don’t make the grade and would otherwise be tossed out.

By the end of each day, piazzas are covered in a layer of pulp, the result of tons of oranges not only being tossed, but also trod on by the thousands of tourists and residents alike who flood the city during the three-day event, which ended Tuesday. The organic refuse is gathered by plows and transported to the town’s compost center.

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