Skip to content

la festa di san martino

All cultures have autumnal festivals that celebrate the end of the harvests: Here in Puglia, ours lasts a week.

Where: In the Historical Centre of Lecce

When: November 09th-14th

Where you sleep: in local bed and breakfasts. We have recommendations in Student Services.

How much? 1995 Euro.

Taught in: English.

Best way to arrive, depart, maximise your time with us: Everything is spelled out in our Student Services. You’ll be given access about booking.

Book now. Or write us for information.

San Martino is celebrated in pockets across Europe, in often non-related countries. Parts of Germany, but not northern Italy. Austria put only parts of France. Teutons tend to celebrate with goose or duck but it’s decidedly more porcine here in Puglia.

Novello- a wine made with carbonic maceration- a simular process to Beaujolais nouveau- comes in and out of fashion every few years. One night a year we buy it by the case.

Book now. Or write us for information.

The Celebration of San Martino

All cultures have autumnal festivals that celebrate the end of the harvests: Here in Puglia, ours lasts a week.

It’s called San Martino and the release of the new wine is timed to coincide with the holiday, easily the regional favourite (most of Italy doesn’t celebrate it).

It’s in early November, just as the seasons start to change. And our menù reflects the season, perfectly. The first walnuts, clementines, quince and the new reds debut, all suggesting that it’s time for celebrating. We grill whole legs of lamb, bring home paper sacks of organic legumes and really dive into the seasonal greens. 

Each night we cook in candle light, loading the table top from our owner’s collection of brass candlesticks.

Here in Italy, the city of Lecce is nationally-famous as an architectural jewel, seemingly untouched from the era of Counter-reformation. Its baroque churches, aristocratic palaces, public buildings and private homes were all carved out of the same soft warm-hued stone that seems to glow amber at night. With a large university, the city is routinely voted as one of the most liveable in all of Italy, our famous and numerous outdoor wine bars, effectively serving as living rooms in what in other cities happens behind closed doors.

San Martino Course

Situated in a 16th century former aristocratic palace, you’ll cook at our Lecce school in our owner’s home, with his personal copper pots, pans and knives, collected throughout Europe over the last few decades. You’ll browse and borrow from our school’s book collection, one of the largest multi language cookery libraries in all of Italy. You’ll pull the wines for the week from the school’s private collection, the driving policy; no wines sourced more than 50 kilometres from the school, no grape varieties with less than 300 years history in this region.

Together with only six other international students (from 59 countries and counting), you’ll begin to see food and wine, not as recipes and fermentation techniques but the consumable products of the climate, the geography, the political history, the immigration patterns of this magical part of the world. You’ll visit fish markets, learning to see all fish as only 4 basic types, learning the technique for each (and never feeling intimated by fish again). You’ll work with foragers to bring foods to the table, still wild with sun-drenched flavour.

You’ll learn how to critically taste wine, never overspending again. And to taste olive oil, simultaneously one of nature’s beguiling- and most adulterated- products known to man.

And by the end of the week, you’ll know this place, having spent time in a favourite caffe, in a favourite wine bar, with a favourite greengrocer and you’ll feel, that for at least for a little while, that you actually lived here.

Book now. Or write us for information.