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Amazing Story of Two Faithful Lovers Martino and Ninetta

Who were so in love, that we couldn't even stay away from each other for an hour, and Martino--being jealous–one night dressed up as a priest, went to the confessional
and confessed his dear Ninetta –who didn’t even realize it.

Martino and Ninetta,
are two faithful lovers,
two hearts so steady
could never be found.
These two lovers
have so much love,
that an hour away from each other
they cannot last anymore.

Martino and Ninetta
stay very close to each other,
and are two cousins
of first kinship by marriage.
Martino is very good looking,
and Ninetta is a beautiful flower.
They were in love
with so much happiness.

Not even from the church
they were distant.
They faithfully
went to mass every morning.
They were in love
so honestly and moderately,
that all their neighbourhood
praised its good deeds.

The priest of both
was their confessor (priest)
and of this honest love
he was very happy.
With saintly, good counsel
he tried to comfort them,
and he had the thought
to soon marry them.

The young Martino
was a sexton,
a good Christian,
and a devoted man of God.
He rang the bells,
and worked in the Church,
but he always kept
Ninetta in his heart.

Martino used to wake up in the morning
and was always In a hurry,
but he still used to go to Ninetta
to wish her a good day.
Ninetta, early in the morning
used to go to the window
to see her Martino,
telling him, “Come here.

and always stay close to me
Martino, my beloved.
I have been wanting for you a long time.
Don't make me suffer anymore.
I am in love with you,
my good looking Martino.
An hour apart from you
I cannot last.

If you stay away from me
I feel tormented.
But I am very happy
when you are close to me.
From now on
I will never leave you,
and where you go
I will always go with you.

Let's go, my Martino,
to church together
to play Ave Maria.
I love you dearly
Martino, my beloved,
I swear and I promise,
I will never leave you.”

Martino was in the church.
and Ninetta was looking at him.
She felt comforted
looking at her Martino.
Then, Martino went
from the church to the vestry.
Ninetta kept him company
and stayed close to him.

Martino, after the mass was over
used to go home,
and Ninetta accompanied
her dear treasure, Martino.
Walking on the road,
they went arm in arm
with enjoyment and delight. 
They were in love.

When Ninetta arrived at home,
Martino stayed close to her.

When Ninetta went to the mill,
Martino went to look after her.
When Ninetta took the water,
Martino went to help her.
When Ninetta prepared a meal,
Martino goes to eat it.

After lunch, Ninetta
goes to her room,
and the young Martino,
she wants next to her.
In between them there was a faith,
so sincere, and straightforward
that wherever Ninetta went,
Martino went too.

Ninetta was in love with Martino,
but she also had a great devotion to God.
So, she used to go
to holy confession.
Sometimes the priest
heard confession at night
and Ninetta went
to confess her faults.

But one day it happened
the priest was sent away.
He was sent  away
for a mission.
Ninetta didn’t know anything
about this thing,
and s a good penitent,
she wanted to go to confession.

When it was becoming dark
Ninetta, who was alone,
went to confession.
She waited for the priest
to go into the confessional.
Martino went to the church
to play Ave Maria,
but a big unhappiness
he had in his heart.

Several days already passed by
since the last time Martino saw Ninetta
together with a good looking boy.
He had a thought   (a passion)
that always bothered him.
He suspected
that she loved Franceschin.

He played Ave Maria
for the living and the dead.
And then he decided
to go and confess her.
He knew for sure
that the priest was gone.
Martino went to the vestry
to change his clothes.

He put the priest’s robes on,
including the surplice and the hat.
The young Martino
dressed up as a priest.
He walked in the middle of the church
and Ninetta believed
that he was the priest,
but it was Martino.

She entered inside the confessional,
opening the little window.
She talked very softly
as the confessor does.
The beautiful young girl,
with a loyal heart
freely confessed
what she had in her heart.

Soon the fake priest
opened the little window,
and then slowly
he started to ask,
“When was the last time
you confessed?
Did you do
your penitence?” (repentance)

With a contrite heart she said,
“Since the last time I confessed
eight days have passed by.
I already took care
of my penitence (repentance)
and now I decided
to confess again.”

Priest (Martino)
I am ready to listen to you,
and I beg you to confess
with true honesty.
God sees
inside of your thoughts,
and if you don’t say the truth,
God will punish you.

I will confess my sin
and I won’t lie,
that I have a jealousy
that reigns in my heart.

I love my Martino.
In fact, I have a deep love for him.
But, I have a big fear
that he pretends his love for me.

I am deeply in love.
I feel so impassioned
I cannot stay steady.
Love makes me suffer,
for my dear Martino,
always used to come to me,
but now he makes me wait.

Days feel like centuries
and hours feel like years.
I have big troubles
if I don’t see Martino.
But, when I see my Martino,
I feel consoled,
and my day flies
very quickly. (it feels like a short moment)

I love my Martino,
and I have a deep love for him
that is written in my heart,
and I cannot forget it.
If only an hour goes by
that I don’t see him coming to me,
when It’s time to eat
I cannot eat.

And today at lunch  (twelve noon)
I was looking out the window,
and I saw my Martino
talking to Teresin.
When I look at my dear lover
talking to another beautiful lady,
anger overcomes me and makes a food of me
every night and  morning.

Martino is such a good looking man,
so sweet, and loving.
If he were already my spouse
I would feel a happy love.
He has a wonderful smile
that gives great pleasure. (to whomever looks at him)
If I could have him,
I would be happy deep inside my heart.

But I deeply fear
that my dear Martino
is a sweet, choice morsel, (this is metaphorical)
and that I will not be able to have him,
because Teresina
flatters him.
She makes him fall for her
and she will marry him,
and I will I have to leave
that nice face I like so much,
staying here without a husband,
dying in my passion.

The Confessor
Oh, poor Ninetta!
I feel like a big martyr
because love makes me
pine away in despair.

The Confessor
Calm down Ninetta,
said the confessor.
Martino loves you,
he truly loves you.
Martino has a sincere heart,
a constant heart.
Martino is your lover
and Martino wants to marry you.

I love my Martino so much
that it’s written inside of me.
At night I go to bed
but I cannot sleep.
because I keep turning in my bed.
When my head is on my pillow
it seems that
I see Martino appear to me.

Last night I had a dream
that I enjoyed a lot.
I dreamt that I was with
my dear Martino.
I dreamt I was walking
with my beloved,
but the blessed dream
was over in a short moment.

I had at home
a rooster in the poultry pen,
and it started to sing
and crow.
In the meantime, that rascal rooster
woke me up.
I could have slept for three days
with such a happy dream.

The Confessor
I give you a penitence,
that you should keep being constant.
Give a kiss to your lover.
Kiss him truly,
as you greet him warmly.

This is a penitence
that you can easily do.

Soon after, the fake priest
ran away.
He went to the vestry
to change his clothes
He soon left the church
and went to the square, (Italian piazza)
and Ninetta with a loyal heart
gave him a kiss.

Ninetta told him:
I went to confessional.
I went to get counsel
from my good priest.
He advised me
to be constant with you,
since you are my faithful lover
and I truly love you.

So, let’s go home
together, in company.
Once we get there,
come and have dinner with me.
I am so deeply in love
with you, my good Martino,
that an hour away from you,
I cannot stay.

And soon,
these two lovers
got married.
with true honesty.
Their matrimony
was done with joy and happiness,
together with their family.
They now share a great happiness.


Property of Andrea Cereghino and of his sons.


Translated by: Chiara Degli Esposti, a native Italian that was attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She has now returned to Italy.