Italy celebrates the Indian Summer: Wine and food festivals and special events

Everyone knows the so-called “Indian Summer”, a meteorological phenomenon that takes place in Autumn.

It refers to a period of considerably above normal temperatures, accompanied by dry and hazy conditions, usually after there has been a killing frost. Everywhere in the US, this period is more commonly known as the “dog days”.

In former times in Europe, “Indian summer” was called “Saint Martin’s Summer”, referring to St. Martin’s day, November 11th, when it was supposed to end.

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, and is marked by a festival throughout the peninsula on November 11th.

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. So November 11th is still considered a “moving day” because on that day farmers used to move from land to land.

Taking place in the period of good weather in the second half of November, the St Martin’s Summer is becoming more and more widespread and popular gathering many people in the cities holding celebrations and events.

The St Martin’s Summer begins on 11th November and lasts for 3 or 4 days. It is so famous and popular that in Italy there are a lot of proverbs dedicated to this period, and also several 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.

Many cities and villages in Italy hold food festivals, events and parties for tasting excellent, new wine and also chestnuts, mushrooms and hundreds of specialties and delicacies typical of the season: don’t miss the chance to taste such delicious products of Autumn!

The Autumn atmosphere, the days of mild temperatures, the gathering of mushrooms and chestnuts could be a perfect occasion for enjoying a wine and food itinerary in one of the cities in which this much-loved recurrence is celebrated.

Here it is a list of some villages in Italy celebrating Indian Summer.

In Ascoli Piceno there’s the tradition to stay with relatives or friends on the night of 11th November for eating roast chestnuts and grilled pork and tasting the yearly new wine.

In Castiglione in Teverina (in province of Viterbo), from 7th to 9th November, every year a wine and food events is held called “San Martino, Olio, Funghi e Vino” (“St Martin, Oil, Mushrooms and Wine” where visitors will have the chance to taste oils and wines and also the fine truffle of Valle del Tevere; everything together with music and folkloristic events. In addition, visitors will have the opportunity to visit the Museum of Wine and Agricultural Science and to walk on the Strada del Vino (“Street of Wine”) of Teverina.

In Leffe (in the province of Bergamo), the basilica dedicated to St. Martin is decorated with lights and on the night of 10th November there’s a procession in the city streets. On this night, children will receive gifts.

In Quinto Vicentino, on the week-end of 11th November a country festival where many ancient jobs are shown with vintage costumes.

In Venice, children make some noise by beating lids and pots, and ask bystanders and dealers some coins singing a carol in the local dialect. With money received, they buy St Martin-shaped muffins.

In San Martino in Rio (province of Reggio Emilia) on 11th November, a historical parade takes place in the streets remembering the most significant stops of the Saint, his battles and benefactions, etc.

In Todi (in the province of Perugia), on 11th November hundreds stalls will crowd the city streets.

As you can see, you will be spoilt for choice! Just choose your favourite festival in Italy and enjoy the sweet Italian products of Autumn.

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