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8 famously messy festivals

By: Josh Lew on Nov. 18, 2013, 2:52 p.m.
Enemy teams throw oranges to each other during the Battle of Oranges in Italy

Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images

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The Battle of the Oranges

Held during Carnival season (usually in February) in the northern Italian town of Ivrea, the Battle of Oranges (Battaglia delle arance in Italian) is another European fruit fight that has garnered attention for its messiness. Held to reenact the overthrow of a despotic tyrant during medieval times, the citrus-flavored battle lasts for three days and is the highlight of a week of celebrations.

The Battaglia delle Arance is not quite the all-out food fight that La Tomatina is. The throwing is only supposed to be between predetermined "teams." However, it is pretty easy to find yourself in the path of a ricocheting orange or to slip on the sticky carpet of fruit and fall into the battlefield, where you will be considered fair game. The hardness and acidity of the oranges make this a slightly more dangerous festival compared to some of the others on the list. That said, it is also reasonably easy to stand on the periphery of the Battle of the Oranges and enjoy seeing other people getting dirty without taking part.