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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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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

San Martino – St Martins Day - November 11th.

San Martino.
Photo of stained glass designed by the students of Art of Aosta)

This date is important in Italy for more than one reason!  Firstly it is when festas are held to celebrate the Vino Novello (the new seasons wine) in some parts of Italy. In fact on this day last year our own wine was ready for sealing, as the fermentation process was complete. San Martino 2010  We did not make any wine this year as we knew that we would be away travelling when it needed attention. Instead we made grape juice which we will enjoy as a breakfast drink over the winter. 
November 11th is the official feast day for San Martino - Saint Martin 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!  Hence maybe the celebration of Vino Novello on this day!
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 in Italy, a period of sunny, warm weather with clear skies and mild temperatures of around 21C/70F, occurring during early November is called Estate di San Martino.

We are of course hoping for an Estate di San Martino while we pick our olives this year. Weather permitting we are starting tomorrow, my sister arrives this afternoon for a working holiday. Well she did ask if she could help this year so we have waited for her arrival. The barometer is rising and the weather looks promising, today Wednesday the 9th of November at 2pm the thermometer was reading 21C so maybe we will be enjoying an Indian Summer, let us hope so.  When we harvested our olives last year we had beautiful weather but a disastrous crop, but as you have already seen from my earlier photos Olives, it is looking a lot more promising for the 2011 harvest.
I am sure many of you have heard the term Indian Summer before when referring to a spell of warmer than normal temperatures accompanied by sunshine and dry and hazy conditions in the Autumn months.
In earlier times in Europe, “Indian summer” was called “Saint Martin’s Summer”, referring to St. Martin’s Day on November 11th.
The phrase ‘Saint Martin’s Summer’ comes from France where it is still widely used. In Italy, St Martin’s summer (Estate di San Martino) was expected and celebrated as a rural tradition with ancient origins.
By the ancient agriculture systems of Rural tenancy and Sharecropping the yearly rental of the lands traditionally ended just on November 11th, right at the end of the harvesting season, but still before winter.
The St Martin’s Summer often occurs around 11th November and lasts for 3 or 4 days. It is so famous and popular that in Italy there are events and festivals in many Italian cities and villages. Born as a religious celebration, it has been turned into a range of wine and food events in which visitors have the chance to taste the new wine.
I have not forgotten either that November 11th is also Remembrance Day but here in Italy servicemen who died for the nation are remembered on 4 November, when the ceasefire that followed the Armistice of Villa Giusti in 1918 began. Since 1977, this day has not been a public holiday, now, many services are held on the first Sunday of November.

In Memory of those that lost their lives for us.
Copyright All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection

For followers that have joined me in the last year my previous posts about San Martino and the Wine Harvest can be read in the following links. San Martino 2010 and Indian Summer
I am now off to spend some quality time with my sister.

Photo of olives taken during our 2009 Harvest : Copyright All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection


  1. This year we will all enjoy writing 11/11/11 and it will even work for our American friends. I am glad your olives look good because here in my part of Tuscany there are very few .

  2. Hi Linda. Really interesting post today, and I loved the bit about the sun coming out, just as St Martin shared his cloak! Good luck with the grape harvest my friend. Hope you won't make your sister work TOO hard!!

  3. Wonderful post it gives a rich insight into your life in Italy. I love the stained glass window, absolutely stunning!
    Blessings and prayers for a succesful harvest.

  4. Cara amica
    I hope a great harvest, happy anniversary, May you rest in peace, the dead ...
    Your photos are wonderful!!!
    Tanti saluti

  5. Good luck with your harvest. I would love to be experiencing the temperatures you are! Have a wonderful visit with your sister!

  6. I hope the weather stays good for your olive harvest and the visit with your sister. I think I told you before that I love olives. I'm not a wine drinker, so I would really enjoy your homemade grape juice. Yummy.

  7. Beautiful poppies, Linda. So glad you remembered. xo Wishing you a hugely successful olive harvest! :-)

  8. Hi Linda! Great post! the weather is good for olive harvest ! Have a good WE!

  9. Enjoy your olive picking, hope the weather holds. We are going to the local Remembrance Day Service here tomorrow. It is held by one of neighbours who has his own WW1 museum at home. Diane

  10. The poppies and the olives really caught my attention...Beautiful.


  11. Hope you have a great olive harvest!

  12. Italy is so rich in history and religious holidays. I just love that. Wishing you a great visit with your sister!!

  13. I wish for some Indian Summer here:-)
    I`v read about 11.11, but this day is not marked in Norway, because we were neutral during WWI.
    Hope you have a nice weekend:-)

  14. Linda, you photos from your trip are fantastic! Thanks so much for posting them. It has been a horrendous two weeks for us, but we are getting things back to normal now. I enjoyed reading this post about St. Martin's Day and Armistice Day. We also celebrate Veterans' Day on November 11th here in the states.

  15. No "estate di San Martino" down here, as we've had a lot of rain. I hope it holds off for your olive-picking.

  16. Great post!
    Very nice stained glass! And love the poppies and the olives!

    Have a nice and happy olive harvest****

  17. I am happy to have found your blog because I ♥ Italy. My grandparents were from Sicily. Look forward to following your empty nest adventure. My husband and I have one son left at home who is a junior in college...and I am dreaming...

  18. Yay! I'm following the olive picking challenge on Fb, can't wait to read your big number! ;-)
    San Martino is a big deal for bakeries and cake shops in Venice, can't remember if I told you before that we have a cake shaped like San Martino made of pastafrolla and covered with chocolate and sweets..mmh yummy! :-)
    Ciao from a very chilly Venice, make the most of the time with your sister! :*

  19. wow, amazing photos, the stain glass is beautiful have a good visit with your sister,

  20. It is always interesting to read about other places and their holidays. I remember always wearing a poppy when young..The veterans use to sell them..I know your visit with your sister was wonderful..and happy for you both.


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