A Travellerspoint blog

Carnival

Almost everyone has heard of Carnival whether it's the version celebrated here in Italy, the one in Rio De Janeiro or even America's version known to some going by the name of Mardi Gras. Like everything else Carnival celebrations vary depending on what country you are celebrating them in and even depending on what region of that country you are in. If you know Italian Carnival you probably think of the historical costumes and masks worn in celebration in Venice.
I planned my trip I didn't care about the dates so long as I left to return home the Friday after my birthday. This way I could spend not only my birthday here but still give my host family a full weeks care and not cut out on them in the middle of the week. It wasn't until I arrived that I realized I was arriving on the weekend of Carnival. Children have no school Monday & Tuesday after Carnival weekend because festivities are still going. The last day of school before this break the children all wear costumes to school for Carnival. They also wear their costumes to things throughout town during Carnival. The primary school that the boys go to gives each classroom a theme for their costumes that year. Vittorio's was city workers I think, and Giovanni's was under the sea. My host mother Luisella and her friend Maria and all 4 of the children(Luisella's 3 and Maria's 1) plus myself all went to a town called Ivrea. Ivrea is about an hours drive north of Torino. Here they do carnival their own way.
This part of Italy has a lot of Orange and Lemons grown here, from what I am told they can only sell so many and then have to destroy the extra which I find horrible donate them somewhere that people need them in Italy or another country. Why limit how many oranges can be sold? I still don't see the logic but oh well. Back to the point, the back story if I recall correctly from what I was told is this: There was a king a few hundred years ago who ended up no longer being good for the people. For this reason the people wanted to overthrow him and make a general in charge instead. They did exactly that and while the now over thrown king was fleeing the city they threw oranges at him, lots of oranges. Which is why they throw oranges during their Carnival celebration to remember the over throwing of the king.
For this reason during Carnival in Ivrea teams or groups arrive with their fancy wagons, and uniforms and they bombarded each other with oranges. If you are in Ivrea and do not want to be hit with an orange you are supposed to wear a red hat, scarf or coat. Mostly it is for the children but adult wear red as well. That does not mean you won't get hit rouge oranges are a thing. It just means no one will aim an orange at you. Everyone gets in on it and in my experience it was fun and you could feel the excitement. They do pause in the orange throwing to reenact that general being sworn in or whatever it's called. The wagons come into one of the squares and start bombarding the people in the other wagon, and if the crowd is throwing oranges at them the crowd close to the wagons as well with hundreds of oranges. There are stacks of crates all around town where each wagon goes back to refill the supply on the wagon. Then there are stacks to use to refill the supply on bridges for people to throw at targets on the bank of the river under them. Hundreds is probably an understatement I'm guessing they go through thousands of oranges probably in a day and I don't want to know how many in the entire weekend.
Throughout the town you will find vendors with little tables set up selling red products; caps, the long traditional(for this part of Italy) hats, scarfs, and confetti. Oh yes confetti, it is carnival after all. Children bring and get parents to buy for them backs of confetti and throw it everywhere, just up in the air for the heck of it, at their friends and family members the stuff ends up appearing EVERYWHERE.
Ivrea is so well known for their orange throwing and consider it important enough to their cities history that there are multiple pieces of art around town that are a grey hand holding an orange. Each piece of art is a good 9 or more feet tall. I think I counted 2 if not 3 while there.
I am very glad they took me there because I don't think I will ever experience anything close to this event again in my life and I would have hated to have missed my chance to experience it. If you ever happen to be in the Torino part of Italy during Carnival I recommend the drive to Ivrea. You are bound to have a great time!

stacks of crates of hundreds of oranges

stacks of crates of hundreds of oranges

during a lul in throwing

during a lul in throwing

during the throwing notice the blurs that are oranges mid air

during the throwing notice the blurs that are oranges mid air

one of many wagons before the throwing started

one of many wagons before the throwing started

hand statue

hand statue

Posted by Bonnie7825 13:49 Archived in Italy Tagged italy carnival oranges ivrea Comments (0)

Ciao!

rain 4 °C

I am starting this blog as a electronic way of tracking and sharing my experience of being an au pair in Italy. I was originally only going to share this with a few friends and family members, however my host mother today told me she wishes to show it to her future au pairs so I am going to start off by introducing myself for those of you who don't know me.
My name is Bonnie, I am from California and currently residing in Rivalta Di Torino, Italy. This is a small village about 45 minutes from the city center of Torino capital of Piemonte. Think base of the French Alps, west of Venice, and slightly north west of Genoa. In America I teach at a preschool, nursery school, or garden school whichever name you are familiar with. I am on sabbatical from there so as to be here from the beginning of February 2016 until the beginning of May 2016. Since I am not working for a corporation or enrolling in University I do not qualify for a visa so I can only stay for 90 days, as an extended holiday basically.
I have a very nice host family that I found on Greataupair.com.(I highly recommend this site if you are looking to become an au pair) My host family is made of Luisella & her husband Danilo, and their three children the oldest and only daughter is Letizia she is 13, then there is Vittorio he is 8, and the youngest is Giovanni who is 6.
I settled into a schedule here fairly quickly and easily. Danilo takes the boys to school in the morning so I only need to wake up in time to take them to school once in a while for whatever reason. Depending on the day of the week I start doing things with the children between 2:30 and 4:30. Each of the children read with me in English every night. My schedule looks like this:

Monday: free until I pick up Giovanni from school at 4:30, Luisella or grandpa picks up Vittorio and takes him to Catechism. Giovanni and I walk home, do our reading, and then do an art project or bake something yummy. So far pancakes are his favorite!
Tuesday: In the morning I go into Torino to my Italian language class in the hopes of picking up some Italian while I am here. The school I go to is great. I will post a link to them on the bottom of this post. Letizia gets home from school around 2:30 so we have lunch, and talk a bit before she goes to French class. I am then free until she returns because the boys go to English class after school.
Wednesday: I pick up both boys from school at 4:30 and we go homes so Vittorio can do homework while read with Giovanni, and Letizia.
Thursday: I go back into Torino to my Italian class. Some days I stay and go to lunch with the other au pairs in class other times I come straight back to the house, or wonder around Torino on my own a bit. Today when I go get the boys from school at 4:30 we will hang around the school for 15minutes or so before they go back inside for their karate class. Letizia will meet us there and join them. I walk around the village near the school or just read on my kindle in the hall while they are in class.
Friday: I am free until I pick up the boys at 4:30, today I take them to a drawing class after school that is a few blocks walk away.

Luisella is great, she found me two children to tutor in English one hour once a week each for a little extra pocket money. On top of them I now also tutor three adults as well. With the children it's helping them with their English homework because both take English at their school, and talking with them in English, making sure they know the meanings of the words they are reading. With the adults it's pretty much all conversation between us and correcting words, grammar and introducing new words sometimes as well.
Weekend are my days off. Sometimes I go places with the family, sometimes I go into Torino to meet up with friends and explore, other times I'm lazy and relax in the house. Now that it feels like spring is trying to arrive I'm trying to go out more. It was nice to be lazy at the house the first few weekends when it was freezing outside with chances of very cold rain or snow. Now that it's beautiful and only slightly chilly out I want to be out and about seeing this beautiful area!
I am going to stop this first post here but what you can expect from future posts are stories of the places I have been already, five and half weeks worth for me to get caught up on, and places I go in the future until I go home. I will add photos sometimes as well. places I go will include museums in Torino, festivals here or around, other cities in Italy, and who knows what else.

Posted by Bonnie7825 21:25 Archived in Italy Tagged italy traveling abroad au_pair Comments (0)

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