Happy San Faustino! Have you heard of this Italian festivity before? He is considered today as the patron Saint of people looking for a soulmate… but what is the story behind it?
San Faustino’s Story
The saint shares the day of his celebrations, the 15th of February, with his brother Giovita, martyred with him. Little is known of their story; it is likely that the brothers lived during the troubled times of early Christianity, when being faithful implied prosecutions and martyrdom. They were arrested and executed in the city of Brescia, in Lombardy; over the centuries, they became the city’s patron saints. Their legend was handed down in a fantastical romantic work, composed between the eighth and ninth century after an older document which did not survive to our days.
This romantic tale is responsible for most of what we know of San Faustino and his brother; it is the inspiration behind many of the -beautiful- artistic representation of these Saints. Often they are pictured in Roman military attire, with a sword in one hand and the palm of martyrdom in the other: that’s why it’s believed that they were Roman soldiers before converting to Christianity. This presumed military past played an important part in making them the patrons of Brescia. In 1438, during a terrible siege on the city by the Milanese army, according to the legend the Saints appeared on the ramparts of the city and blocked the cannon balls of the enemy army with their bare hands, forcing the Milanese to flee.
San Faustino’s Fair and celebrations
In Brescia this famous recurrence is celebrated on the 15th of February. Every year on this date this beautiful city is filled with colours and events, in an atmosphere of lightheartedness and joy. For many inhabitants of Brescia and the countryside just outside the city, this day is the occasion to spend some time rediscovering its historical centre and beautiful sights. There are a variety of events, religious celebrations and extraordinary openings of normally-closed sites; but the main event is surely the traditional Saint Faustino and Giovita’s Fair. The fair is an unmissable event for the Bresciani. Every year it attracts thousands of people from the city and the neighbouring towns and villages, who crowd the streets of the historical city centre to celebrate and shop. There are more than 600 stalls and stands coming from all over Italy and from all over the world: last year the fair featured stands from Ecuador, US, Peru, Senegal, Argentina… Everything is on show: artisanal products, gastronomy, toys, homewares, clothes, jewellery and, of course, confectionery and chocolates.
So, how did Faustino become the patron Saint of singles?
We cannot find a lot of evidence in history nor in legend. According to popular belief Faustino, whose name comes from the name Fausto (which literally means “lucky”), supposedly brings good fortune to those who are searching for their soulmate. More likely, it is the closeness of the two celebrations -only one day apart- which prompted the juxtaposition of couples and singles. It could have also been an exploitation of a catchy word play since, in Italian, Valentino and Faustino rhyme together!
A good occasion to celebrate self-love with some Italian chocolates
Whether you are happily engaged, in love or still looking for the right person, it’s always nice to have a day when we are reminded of the importance of love, and sharing that love and kindness to others. That, of course, includes loving ourselves! Sometimes, all it takes for some self-love is treating yourself to a box of luxury confectionery. Sweets and chocolates, after all, especially when they are made with premium and high quality ingredients like my Lavolios, are food for the soul. You can lose yourself in the comforting deliciousness of my nutty and chocolatey Nutty Forest, or try something more exciting like Arabian Nights and Decadent Spiced. They pair the finest Italian chocolate with floral and aromatic flavours and with high-quality spices. And they are all gluten free sweets.
Whatever your plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day or Saint Faustino are, I hope you are surrounded by the love of your partner, friends and family. I would love to make your celebration a little sweeter with my artisan sweets and chocolates.