The origins of the “serpette” (little snakes) date back to the sixteenth century, when, during the battle of Lepanto between the Pope’s fleet and the Turks in 1571, the Duke Onorato Caetani IV captained a crew from Sermoneta on board of the ship Grifona.
According to tradition the Duke won the battle protected by the Virgin Mary and came home safe with his men. Arrived in Sermoneta, he met his wife, Agnesina Colonna and founded the church Madonna delle Vittorie in honour of the Virgin. In order to celebrate this important victory and the return of the Duke, snake shaped biscuits were prepared, symbolizing the act of devouring the enemy.
The celebration of the Madonna delle Vittorie is held every year on the second Sunday in October. All families bake the biscuits as a sign of devotion and respect for religious traditions.
200 grams of butter
13 grams of baking powder
550 grams of pastry flour
170 grams of sugar
grated lemon zest
For the decoration:
4 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (mixed)
Mix the eggs, the sugar and the lemon zest, shape the flour into a fountain and add the yeast, the beaten eggs and the melted butter.
Mix the dough and put it in a bowl, cover with a cloth and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into small pieces, form small cylinders (12 cm.) and roll them in sugar and cinnamon. Give them the shape of an S and lay the little snakes well spaced apart on the baking surface.