In the early 1100s, an evil duke named Guido III ruled the small Italian town of Ivrea.
Now Guido was your typical cruel ruler; mean to his servants, demanding taxes so high that his townspeople were on the brink of starvation, and handing out harsh punishments to anyone who dared to disagree with him.
But one night, Guido took his cruelty one step too far.
On a snowy winter's evening, Violetta, the miller’s daughter had just sat down to her wedding feast. Beautiful, brave, and spirited, Violetta was beloved by the whole town. And as such her wedding to the kind baker’s son was an evening filled with joy and well-wishes.
As the couple celebrated their marriage with a modest dinner featuring a stunning orange cake baked by Violetta herself, the duke’s guards stormed in. Despite the valiant efforts of her groom, family, and friends, Violetta was dragged off to the duke’s castle.
Arriving at the castle, Violetta was shoved into a room. Next the roaring fireplace sat Guido in his great, gilded chair. He informed Violetta with a sneer that she would in fact be spending her wedding night with him,
And in the morning he would send her back to her groom.
Violetta, outraged and appalled at his words, grabbed an ornamental ax that was hanging on the wall.
Without taking time to second-guess herself, she swung the ax with all her might!
The duke, frozen in complete surprise, was decapitated on the spot.
Tossing aside the ax and running back to her family, Violetta shared what had happened.
The townspeople, fed up with their years of oppression, rallied around her bravery and courage. Together they stormed the duke's castle, defeating his soldiers and burning the castle to the ground.
And to celebrate their victory, they enjoyed slices of Violetta’s delicious orange cake!
To this day, every year the people of Ivrea commemorate and celebrate their liberation from Guido, and what has become known as the Battle of Oranges.
With each bite of, we hope you too feel a dash of Violetta’s bright, courageous spirit this holiday season!