Every year thousands of visitors are estimated to come to the fair and an increasing number of operators, exhibitors and sellers register for a special area in the local market. They are the upholders of this special endurance between present and past.
St. Martin’s fair occurs on November 11th, the day dedicated to St. Martin’s celebration, and was originally a folk fest, linked to the economy of the second half of the XVIII century and based essentially on the exchange of raw materials and agricultural products.
The main peculiarity was that the little market had neither impositions nor control on the goods, so that everyone could participate and we can say it was a free market.
Over the years the fair has lost its rural feature and it is today a moment of joy and celebration with many exhibitors and stands and thousands of tourists and visitors coming from the neighbourhood of Grottammare. Among the different stands it is possible to find every kind of goods, such as culinary specialities, confectioneries of any sort, handmade products… but above all, St. Martin’s fair is nationally well-known for the taste of new wine combined with roast chestnuts.
A curious event about St. Martin’s fest is the “cuckold race”, but unfortunately we don’t have any notion about its beginning. Someone believes it comes from the Longobardic habit to celebrate the Saint by organising military parades where showy horny helms were worn. Someone else believes it comes from the gibe of the farmers to their owners, farmers which “made the owners cuckolded” and used to bring them their farmer products by participating to the market.
However the tradition has remained and during the banquet a special dish is expected to be eaten by husbands ("lu sennere a la cazzimberie", a celery salad) in order to prevent their wives from adultery. In fact, it is thought that the celery salad, because of the abundance of pepper in it, is somehow aphrodisiac.
The common distribution of products and stands.
Delicatessen: around the fruit and vegetable market.
Households goods and hardware stores: Via Matteotti, Via Capriotti.
Food and drinks: Viale Crucioli, via Laureati.
Various stuff: from Via Verdi to Via Battisti.
Animals and flowers: in front of the primary school in Viale Garibaldi.
Direct producers and handmade products: near the fruit and vegetable market, Piazza Fazzini, Largo Raffaello Sanzio.
Chimneys and others: Viale Garibaldi and Via Marconi.
Translated by Raissa Baroni