Christmas in Italy: The Original Saint Nick

In some parts of Italy the feast of San Nicola, patron saint of Bari, ushers in the Christmas season with the giving of gifts on the eve or morning of December 6, his onomastico (name day). Although many stories of San Nicola’ s life may be mythical, he did inspire...

Giving Thanks in Italian

  There is an Italian name — la Festa del Ringraziamento — but no cultural equivalent for the day when the Pilgrim fathers (padri pellegrini) and the American native people came together to celebrate the harvest in the New World. Although turkey...

St. Martin’s Summer in Italy

Long ago on a cold and rainy November 11, a former Roman soldier named Martino came across a man stumbling and shivering on the road. Although he wanted to help, Martino had no money or blanket to offer. And so he took out his sword, slashed his cloak and gave half to...