If you are in Abruzzo in November, and like your autumn nights peppered with gathering outdoors to watch colossal towering pyres lit to evoke rites and traditions from the distant past that celebrate new beginnings with song, Vino Novello, Scanno’s ‘Le Glorie di San Martino’ is unmissable!
Scanno celebrates ‘Le Glorie di San Martino’ on the night of the 10th November when 15m towers are lit at dusk on the hills of La Plaja, Cardell, and San Martino that overlook Abruzzo’s most photographed town.
It’s part of an initiation rite, that harks back to the time of Capetiempe, where children entered the world of adults through wood and fire, although the Christian Church adopted this special time of year and repurposed it dedicating it to San Martino, Saint of Vino Novello (the new wine that was traditionally uncorked on this day), charity and almsgiving.
Fire in Abruzzo was always seen as a symbol of purification and change, moving and evolving into a new epoch, an ancient ritual that strengthened the sun and removed the dark and underground forces that endangered the newly planted seeds and whilst fertilising the soil.
The 3 districts of the town named after the hills, first light the towers that local children have crafted that emulate the towering pyres that the adults have built, and the. These colossal structures have taken 2 months to build, from the collection of wood and logs by the younger members of the town which is then fashioned by the older male members around 4 structural trunks called ‘palanconi’. Expect much sharing of Vino Novello (new wine), grilled meats whose sizzling is just part of the noises you’ll hear between the laughter and merriment! Children get to eat pizza with quattrini, a pan fried bread hiding a surprise coin that many cultures replicate inside their Christmas treats.
As the fires begin to die down, the processions begin. To the sound of ringing cowbells and local instruments, boys bring the gift of light, a piece of the ‘palancone’, the central ember from the winning bonfire to new brides.
In Pictures, The Story of Scanno’s Le Glorie di San Martino by Giancarlo Malandra
Watch the Video!
SACRED FIRE – The Glories of Scanno from Giancarlo Malandra on Vimeo.
Giancarlo is an award-winning photographer based in Giulianova, originally from Chieti. He is a renowned wedding photographer both locally and around the world and his work can be seen here or on Instagram . To view his other stunning works on Abruzzo, bookmark his new website Giancarlo Malandra that will be live in the next few days.