Festa di San Martino – Venice

November 11th is the Festa di San Martino, a traditional Venetian festival full of fun, treats, and history.

According to legend, San Martino (Saint Martin), helped a beggar, who was wearing only rags in the heart of winter, by cutting his cloak in two and sharing it with the man.  San Martino is remembered fondly for his kindness to the poor.

In Venice, kids armed with mamma’s pots and spoons and dressed in crowns and capes, trod around the city in groups, stopping in all their neighborhood shops where they must sing the San Martino song in Venetian and then receive trick-or-treat style treats or coins.  I always loved following my girls and all their friends around our neighborhood and hearing them sing San Martin in Venetian while they laughed and played through the cozy, friendly, and safe streets of Venice.  Here is the song and some photos of some local kids:

San Martino

San martin ze ‘ndà in sofita
par trovar la so novissa
la so novissa no ghe gera
San Martin col culo par tera.

E col nostro sachetin
cari signori se San Martin

Su ‘sta casa ghe ze do putele
tute risse e tute bele
col viseto delicato
suo papà ghe lo gà stampato.

E col nostro sachetin
cari signori se San Martin.

Siora Cate ze tanto bela
in mezo ‘l peto la ga ‘na stela
se no la gavesse meritada
so papà no ghe la gavaria dada.

E col nostro sachetin
cari signori se San Martin.

Siora lussia la fassa presto
ch’el caligo ne vien adosso
el ne vien adosso sul scarselin
siora Lussia ze Sa Martin.

E col nostro sachetin
cari signori se San Martin.


san martino kidsFor weeks before the festival, special cookies in the shape of San Martino on horseback can be found in every bakery in town.  These cookies are decorated with colorful candies, chocolates, and frosting and range in size from small to enormous. They are delicious and as I sit in Berlin right now, I am longing to simply walk a few steps down my little calle (street) and buy one for dessert!  Here are a few photos of the cookies.  The first photo shows some delicious ones baked by my friend Amy.

Are you hungry yet?! Please share any memories or photos you have of the Festa di San Martino in Venice!  Ciao!

2 thoughts on “Festa di San Martino – Venice

  1. Gina, can you believe I didn’t make San Martino cookies this year.Victoria asked me not to make them or she would be tempted to eat them all(or at least all the candy-remember when she did that?)I felt really bad not making them….


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