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Venice in November: devotion and colorful festivals

In November, Venice celebrates both religious and popular festivals that are at the heart of Venetian life. There’s All Soul’s Day on 2 November, San Martino on 11 November, and Madonna della Salute on 21 November.

This year, for the first time in 70 years, the floating bridge has been set up to connect the Fondamenta Nuove to the Venice Cemetery on the island of San Michele. This 450-meter bridge allows you to walk to the ancient cemetery, which houses the tombs of famous people including Ezra Pound, Igor’ Stravinsky, and Joseph Brodsky. On the island, you will also find the church of San Michele, which is a Renaissance masterpiece. In the days around 2 November, the windows of pastry shops and bakeries are filled with bags of colorful sweets. They are known as fave dei morti (beans of the dead), made from pine nuts, sugar, and flour.

Meanwhile, the days surrounding San Martino are instead celebrated with a traditional cake in the shape of a knight, in honor of the saint of Tours: shortbread enriched with garnishes of colored icing, sugared almonds, chocolates, and bonbons. A pleasure for both the eyes and the palate! For San Martino, the children perform the “San Martino Beat”: parading through the streets beating lids, singing nursery rhymes, and asking for pennies and sweets from the shops and passersby.

The Madonna della Salute festival celebrates the end of the plague in 1631. Venetians gather in prayer and hold pilgrimages, celebrating with myriads of colorful balloons and sweets, and feasting on the traditional “Castradina” dish of cabbage and mutton.