Where do I begin?!  We are so blessed to have spent an incredible 8 years living in this fairy tale city on the sea and I can’t wait to share so many stories with you!

Festa di San Martino – Venice

Today, November 11th, is the Festa di San Martino, a traditional Venetian festival full of fun, treats, and history.  I am so sad to be missing it because Trevor is at the perfect age to enjoy this unique celebration that Kaitlin and Cassidy were so lucky to grow up with.

san martino helpingAccording 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 Martinofesta-san-martino-venezia

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 putelerialto-festa-san-martino
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 meritadasan martino kids
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.

For 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!


Acqua Alta and Kaitlin’s Confirmation

Last year on the morning of November 11th, we were awoken to the high-pitched siren that warns the residents of Venice that acqua alta (high water) would be arriving within the next 3 hours.  We were very used to this, but normally the siren only signals moderate high tide, but that morning was different.  This time the signals let us know that the high tide would be at the max – which is 140cm+ of high tide – which is very high!  (I will go into detail about acqua alta and explain it all in a later post).  ”Oh no! This cannot be happening! Today is Kaitlin’s cresima (confirmation) and we are having 30 people over for lunch after the mass!” I shouted. But it was happening.

My sister-in-law, Cathy, had just arrived from LA the night before to celebrate with Kaitlin, her god-daughter, and was in for quite an interesting day in Venice!  Not only was there high tide, but it was also raining, which added more complications to the day.  My house had been clean and ready the night before to welcome our visitors for lunch immediately after the mass and I did not have a lot of extra time for any wrinkles in the plan.  But there went Todd, going downstairs to our storage room which was safe at 120cm of high tide, but would be flooded if it got any higher.  He spent 30 minutes carrying dusty boxes upstairs and into our clean house where we had to store them in our study for the day.  As we were leaving to walk to the church, the tide had hit it’s max and Todd had to carry Trevor because in some areas on the streets the water was up to Trevor’s  mid-thigh and going over his rain boots.  I had to walk so slow as to not let the water splash inside my boots and Cathy’s boots didn’t work at all, leaving her feet soaked and frozen.  When we arrived at church, all of the kids making their confirmation and their parents were in a commotion trying to change quickly from rain boots into their nice shoes and fix hair and make-up for photos to be taken by the waiting photographer.  All seemed to work out fine until we were told that the bishop from Rome was stuck in his hotel and the mass would have to be postponed for at least an hour. Only in Venice!  The bishop could not get a water taxi due to the high tide and the low bridges and he was too far to walk with so much water – he just had to wait for the water to subside!

Here are two photos of us that day.  Since we are traveling and many of last year’s photos are in back-up drives that are not with me, I cannot show you the pics of our campo and streets filled with water or us wading through knee-high water on the way to church.  But as soon as I can get to them, I will post them!

Now that we have left Venice, I look back on Kaitlin’s confirmation day with such fond memories because it was such a unique experience that could only happen in Venice!

Here are some photos I found on the internet from November 11, 2012

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