Welcome Everyone.

Welcome to News From Italy, my blog about our Italian Adventure. Although this blog has now ceased publication I will be continuing to blog and I am sincerely hoping that my many followers here will move with me to Travel Tales blog to follow my next adventures wherever they may take me. The links to my other blogs are:-

I look forward to keeping in touch with you via them, thanks once again for all the support you have given 'News From Italy' over the years.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Indian Summer

Sunshine and unusual warmth in early October is often referred to as an Indian summer in the UK. Having just experienced such weather here in Italy during November, after a particularly cold and wet spell early in the month, it set me thinking. Do Italian’s refer to such weather by any particular name? After some research by asking around and checking various online sites such as ‘Wikipedia’ I have discovered that they do.

According to Italian folklore we have just experienced St Martin’s Summer (L’estate di san Martino)an almost expected occurrence in fact during the first weeks of November.
Indian summer or in Italy St Martin’s summer is an informal expression given to a period of sunny, warm weather in autumn in the Northern Hemisphere typically in late October or early November.
The generally accepted use of the term is when the weather is sunny and clear, and above 21°c (70°F)

November 11th is the feast day for Saint Martin whom I have discovered was born in a Roman province in what is now Hungary, a Roman citizen whose father was an army officer and himself became one, later giving it up to become a monk. He is the patron saint of soldiers and wine-makers!
Historically the story goes that while he was riding at the gates of the city of Amiens with his soldiers, he met a poor, freezing beggar, cut his own military cloak in half and shared it with him. That same night he dreamt of Jesus wearing the half-cloak he had given to the poor man and thanking him for his compassionate gesture. It is also said that at the moment he shared his cloak, the sun came out and that is why what in the UK is known as Indian summer, in Italy, is called Estate di San Martino:
November 11th also happens to be the day when festas are held to celebrate the vino novella (the new seasons wine)

Interestingly enough I also came across this fact that St Martin’s summer- in English folklore is a period of fine, calm weather, similar to an Indian summer but occurring in November. It is called that because St Martin’s Day or Martinmas falls on November 11th.

So there you go what ever we chose to call it, it was a lovely and welcome spell of weather that will hopefully make winter seem a little more bearable when it arrives any day now.


  1. Now I'm confused. I always thought that Indian summer was an American, not purely English term....cause I thought it referred to American Indians. Did you happen to find out the origin of the English term? I always envisioned Indian corn harvests. Oh well. Learn something every day.
    That's why blogs are fun!

  2. Firstly, welcome Diana and Guido, thanks for your comments.
    You are right about the origins(Indians and corn both being mentioned),sorry I was researching purely from the UK and Italian viewpoints. St Martins Summer was originally used in the UK until the American phrase Indian Summer became better known in the 20C. Take a look at this link it explains usage and origins in the USA and Europe. I think you will find it interesting.

  3. Oh, Ok, makes sense now. See you around the blogasphere. My next question is, I am trying to build blog roll of southern Italian blogs.
    I have heard that the south starts just south of Rome, but also south of Naples. My first guess is that you would consider your location "not south". The Diana part of Di and Guido.

  4. Have you looked at http://www.expat-blog.com
    My blog is listed there, you will probably find more to add to your Blog roll.
    I think I would say Roma is central Italy and as we live in Lazio that includes us.
    Maybe you could make your blog roll for anyone that lives south of the Tuscan border as Tuscany is definitely not in the south is it!? Otherwise I suppose south of Napoli it has to be.

  5. That is interesting! I never knew summer days can have names, too. I grew up in the Pacific where typhoons are named yet summer is pretty much generic...

  6. I always love learning new facts about Italy and Italian culture, so thanks for sharing all this. We certainly have been having lovely weather down here!

  7. How very interesting, Linda! Thank you for that. It is miserably grey here today, rain, and the russet apple tree in the front garden is shivering in the wind, so I envy you your weather.

    When I spent some of my gap year working for the Folchi Vicis at the castle of Montalto, near Siena, I remember that there was a painting of St Martin over the archway gate into the castle's entrance courtyard. I don't know how old this painting was - maybe just 19th century, but in Renaissance style. I didn't know of St Martin's connection with wine-makers and soldiers, but certainly the family (Contessa Folchi Vici's family, the Palmieri) who had owned the castle since the 13th century were both of these.


Thank you so much for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it and enjoy reading them all. I now only respond to comments via email, so please make sure your comment is linked to your account, if you would like a response. Otherwise I will not be able to respond!