“AT ST MARTIN EVERY MUST TURNS INTO WINE”
In Italy, on November 11th, St Martin’s festival is celebrated, also known as the summer of San Martino – Estate di San Martino.
This anniversary combines the Christian liturgy with the rural tradition, the opening of new wine barrels and the enjoyment of good food.
This festival recalls the story of solidarity and charity of St Martin from Tours.
THE STORY OF ST MARTIN
St Martin is one of the most venerated saints in Europe.
On a cold and rainy winter’s day when he was still a Roman soldier, Martin galloped in a thick coat.
When he met an old man who was only covered in rags, Martin took his warm coat, cut it in two, and gave one part to the poor man.
Suddenly the wind calmed down, the sun rose and it got hot (hence the term “l’Estate di San Martino” – St Martin’s summer).
That night Martin dreamed of Jesus and the next morning the coat was intact again.
After this episode, he decided to give up the military career for the religious one in order to become Bishop of Tours.
THE FESTIVAL AND THE TRADITION
In relation to his life in the country and in the lower classes, the cult of this saint is closely linked to rites and customs of the peasant tradition.
During these November days, the barrels are opened for the first tastings of the “vino novello” – young wine. Hence the saying:
“A San Martino ogni mosto diventa vino” – At St Martin every must turns into wine.
November 11th is also called Estate di San Martino (St Martins Summer) as autumn is usually milder during this week.
In Italy, the traditions from north to south are really numerous.
For example in Trentino Alto Adige, in Predazzo, Fiemme Valley, people dance around the fire on November 11th.
(Discover here our anyways.eyperiences in Trentino Alto Adige)
In Venice, children walk from street to street, singing a beautiful nursery rhyme in dialect and asking passers-by and traders for a few coins to buy the cotognata, the typical dessert of this festival.
(Discover here our anyways.eyperiences in Veneto)
The traditional folk festival takes place in Santarcangelo di Romagna.
(Discover here our anyways.eyperiences in Emilia-Romagna)
In the Salerno area, in Giffoni Sei Casali, people celebrate with music, food and art.
(Discover here our anyways.eyperiences in Campania)
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