In the sestiere of Castello, you will find the Chiesa San Martino, named for the Bishop Martin of Tours.
While still a young man, and serving in the military, he saw a beggar who was blue with cold, on a bitter winter day. The story goes that Martin removed his warm cape and slashed it in half, giving one part to the beggar.
This event has been portrayed in art over the years, and is what you will see depicted in this 15th century bas-relief over the door of the former Scuola di San Martino, which is to the right of the facade of the church.
In Venice, the saint’s feast day is celebrated on 11 November, with children going around the ‘streets’ making noise with various objects, like pots and pans, asking for money and candies. You will also find special St Martin’s cakes on sale, decorated with colorful glacé icing, sweets and chocolate chips, shaped like St Martin on horseback.
I wonder how they moved from a humble, generous saint, to this form of celebration?