Ivrea is a small city in the province of Torino, in Northwest Italy.
Ivrea is at the center of the Canavese region, close to the foothills of the Alps.
Ivrea used to be a small and sleepy town until, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Olivetti company set up shop there.
This was a mixed blessing, because the sudden influx of workers led to the building of some really ugly areas - on the other hand, Olivetti was the echonomical backbone of the whole Canavese region, creating huge industrial complex and tens of thousands of jobs.
The city center, on the other hand, is quite pleasant - if sleepy.
And remember, never enter the former EniChem factory area.
The Ivrea cultural identity is composed of 4 things:
- Olivetti: it was great, and it died. They can't stop thinking about it. They build the Olivetti Architecture Museum, they show movies about the late Adriano Olivetti, and anything done in town is compared with Olivetti. Since the Olivetti company was an incredible work of genius, nearly everything sucks in comparison.
- Eporediesi ! the people of Ivrea, in Italian are not called "Ivreesi" or "Ivreani" or "Ivreotti" or anything remotely reasonable. They are called Eporediesi, because in Roman times the town was called Eporedia. This worthless piece of trivia is clearly hammered into every little Eporedies in primary school, because they will gleefully spout it for you over and over. Five minutes after meeting you, they get a twinkle in their eye, and they ask you "Do you know how we are called ?". And then you should politely pretend that you don't know.
- Torta 900. Probably the most boring sweet in the world (if you don't count sugar cubes), it is a spongy chocolate cake filled with an extremely sweet chocolate cream. The cake recipe is a trade secret and only the very traditional, very respectable Pasticceria Balla can call it cake Torta 900. Not so surprisingly, nobody outside Ivrea ever gave a damn about the cake.
- The Orange Carnival, a very devastating celebration held just before Lent. In this occasion the normally sedate inhabitants of Ivrea hold a huge fake-historical tournement where they throw metric fuckloads of oranges on each other.
Of course there is a complex scheme that divides the town into warring factions and generally tries to imitate the Palio di Siena. But the point is pounding each other with oranges.
This leaves the city in a very messy, pulpy, squidgy and orangey condition. The Eporediesi then boast of the bruises in their arms (and the black eyes, and the concussions) for weeks.
These 4 elements pretty much shape the Ivrea worldview. Everything else is either big city insanity in Torino or mountain uncouthness in Valle d'Aosta.