San Martino is still honoured widely around Italy (if just as an excuse to try some wine), and, for those working in vineyards and wineries, it’s a big deal.
‘Tis is the time to pop open a bottle of vino and spread the love, even if the wines aren’t quite ready yet. It’s a deep-rooted tradition that runs from north to south, with slight variations on the way it’s done depending on the region (of course).
Go to Veneto, and your vino novello will be paired with a cookie prepared in the shape of San Martino on horseback. In the Venetian area, in particular, children celebrate San Martino a bit like they do at Halloween, wandering from house to house singing and playing with improvised pots and asking for a sweet or a coin.
In Sicily, San Martino is celebrated with homemade biscuits dipped in the famous Passito di Pantelleria (if you happen to be there, ask for ‘abbagnati nn’o muscatu’).
Apulians gather over generous lunches, toasting with new wine and roasting chestnuts in front of the fireplace, though if you’re in Salento you’ll also get to try pittule, delicious pancakes made of fried bread eaten with vincotto or figs.
Abruzzo, too, is fond of the festivity, and celebrates it with anything from dances to bonfires – with new wine as the ever-present star of the show.
Which is all to say: take some time today to open a bottle, raise a glass and enjoy some vino – best if Italian of course.
San Martino is basically the prelude to the festive season that’s just around the corner.