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:-
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Sunday, November 22, 2009
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.