Ivrea, a town in the province of Turin (Piedmont), is one of the 20 most beautiful “towns along the river” in Italy (the Dora Baltea, tributary of the Po river, flows through Ivrea) and an Unesco heritage site since 2018 as “industrial city of the 20th century”. Technology and the Middle Ages, traditions and nature, art and romantic glimpses live here side by side. In short, it is the perfect destination for a weekend.

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Marco Navigli di Ivrea

Considered “Canavese county town”, Ivrea is located in an area derived from a large Pleistocene glacier and its former name was Eporedia. This is why its inhabitants are not called ivreani or ivreesi, as you might think, but eporediesi.

Founded around the 5th century BC by the Salassi, a Celtic tribe already settled in the Canavese area, from the 1st century BC until the age of Lombards it was a Roman territory designed to control the military route from the Piedmont plain to the Dora Baltea valleys. The Romans latinized the name of the city, which underwent some changes, becoming Iporeia, then Ivreia and Ivrea.

What to see & do

The Town Hall and Ferruccio Nazionale Square

You can find it in the historic centre of Ivrea, between Via Palestro and Via Arduino. You’ll recognise it because you’ll end up in front of the civic building with the campanile. When Vittorio Emanuele was born (1759) the square was first named after the King, but later it took the name of Ferruccio Nazionale Square, in memory of the partisan hanged in 1944.


The castle

In the upper town you’ll find the red towers Castle, as Giosuè Carducci named it.

Its foundation dates back to the second half of the 14th century. This is a “real” castle, as one of those in the movies, with large round towers, a drawbridge suspended over the moat and the pathways adorned with swallow-tailed crenellations. For information regarding opening days and times: Associazone Castello di Ivrea, tel. 0039 0125 44415.


Giusiana Gardens

They are worth a visit and so is the massive tower of Santo Stefano, even higher than the treetops.

Built in 1041, it was part of a monastery partially destroyed under French control until when, in 1544 and under Spanish control, it fell into Charles de Cossè, Count of Brissac’s hands, the French Viceroy. In order to strengthen the protection of the town on the river side, he had the church and other buildings demolished, except for the bell tower.

Former La Serra Hotel

Designed in the 1960s, this innovative building housed La Serra Hotel, consisting of 55 flats, a swimming pool, two shopping malls and a convention hall.

This is one of the buildings most representative of Olivetti great influence over the area, since it is shaped like a large typewriter.


The old bridge

The area of ​​the town distinguished by the Old bridge refers to the Roman bridge built around the 3rd century, which crossed the Dora Baltea and flew beyond the defensive walls.

The bridge is still there, but another bridge next to it, of more recent construction, is used as main road. In front of the bridge you’ll see a large and artistic fountain erected in 1957 and dedicated to Camillo Olivetti, founder of the factory of the same name.

The Iron Bridge over the Dora Baltea

Buildt in 1885, where the Ivrea-Aosta railway runs.


A romantic walk by the Ivrea Canal

Lastly, don’t miss a romantic walk by the Ivrea Canal. The historic Carnival of Ivrea is celebrated here every year with the well-knos “Battle of Oranges” (on Sunday, Monday and Shrove Tuesday). This historic carnival dates back to 1808, when the Napoleonic Empire imposed that all the local carnivals would be gathered in a single celebration.

The legend according to which the carnival is organised tells that Violetta, daughter of a miller and promised to Toniotto, opposes the claims of the feudatory about his alleged right to jus primae noctis. Acting as if she accepted his invitation, she went to the castle of San Maurizio and killed the tyrant with a dagger she had concealed in her hair. Then she gave the signal to the people and they all rose up against the nobles. The people were going through hard times even because of the milling and the marriage tax. The sword with the orange on its top frankly recalls the head of the killed tyrant.

Pifferi carnevale Ivrea la bella
Ivrea Carnival photos by Krysland.com

The Historic Carnival of Ivrea is a unique event, recognised as an Italian event of international relevance, as the Presidency of the Council of Ministers declared in 1956.

The food you need to try

The Torta 900 cake. If the Castle is the symbol of Ivrea, the same can be stated for the cake Torta 900. The pastry chef of Ivrea, Ottavio Bertinotti, devised this recipe to welcome the new century. Being aware of the deliciousness of the product, he decided to protect his invention with a registered trademark.

It’s said that Bertinotti was so meticulous, that he pushed everybody away during the preparation of the filling. This “sweet secret” has been kept by the family of Umberto Balla too who, in 1972, about seventy years after its creation, took over both the pastry lab and the patent. If you mean to taste this delicious cake, you definitely have to visit the Pasticceria Balla pastry shop, 16 Corso Umberto I, since the recipe is still today a secret.

pasticceria-balla-torta-900 ivrea

Interesting facts

Ivrea is beautiful, such a beautiful town that even the great poet Giosuè Carducci (the very first Italian to win a Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1906), dedicated one stanza of his very famous poem “Piemonte” to it.

“Ivrea the beautiful, who her red turrets
in the blue Dora’s broad bosom dreamily
mirrors, and all around is the dark shadow
of King Arduin”.

This city is a must-see, we wish you a wonderful time as it was for us 🙂

Ciao da Cris e Marco del blog in giro in giro