Sunday, 9 November 2008

Saint Martin's Day

I rather like this picture it’s the sort of drawing that my friend Fiona might do!!! San Martino is in fact best known for the story of his, de rigueur red, cloak. On a cold and rainy 11th November, Martino was out riding when he came across an old man on the road who was stumbling along and suffering from the freezing cold. Martino wanted to help the man, but had no money or cover to offer him. So he took out his sword, cut his cloak in half, and then offered half to the man. He then rode on with his heart full of joy. The weather then improved, and through a break in the clouds sunshine appeared. That night Martino dreamed that Jesus, with his cloak in hand, thanked him for his compassionate gesture. Today, the warm days of November are still referred to as the "summer of San Martino". (I think today’s temp was about average for this time of year). The day also marked the end of the agricultural year and farm labourers often had to move on and find a new home. People moving house often use the expression “do a Saint Martin” !!!! Rough translation!!!!!

Leaving my husband busy pruning, he does tend to exagerate (as his mother in law well knows!) but it keeps him happy. I set off from Guardasone - only the tower remains of the castle built back in 1300 - set above San Polo where the Torrente Enza enters the Apennines. Last week we did upper Enza, this is the middle course of the river, the Parma side.

A rather sticky start but some views over to Ciano on the Reggio Emilia bank, with castles of Rossena and Canossa, even my village looks picturesque from up here!

The ridge leads to Bazzano. The only village around which doesn't have a church dedicated to San Martino (and associated fair day) in fact it was very quiet. Check out click the Englsih version then TO SEE there are some lovely panoramas espescailly of the castles in winter.

The Christmas Cribs entry is also fun, apparently the village has a competition to see who can set up the best nativity scene in their garden, last year they had 60. I shall return for 13th December to see what they have to offer this year.

Then back to Enza. Here is the bridge down below and the church of Roncaglio on the horizon.

A bit of a hiccup as there was no mobile reception so had to walk down the main road till found a place where could
phone Victor to come and collect me.
PS Set off to a fine start with my Christmas shopping in Parma on Friday - this is Parma torrent in the centre of the city.

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