Italian Christmas cribs
If you like cribs (presepe in italian) and want to see really all about it, you should definitely visit some italian venues and its peculiar christmas habits:
Via San Gregorio Armeno, Napoli, Campania
The street of the nativity scene makers Naples is considered the birthplace of Presepe. Neapolitan Christmas' traditions are well known around the world and bring each year many tourists to the city. Although the charm of Christmas with its scents and magic is palpable everywhere, San Gregorio Armeno is the real place to be, especially if you want to find that perfect presepe statuette to make it truly unique. Here you can admire numerous shops with creative nativity figurines in all variations. Besides the Jesus- and Madonna figurines you will also find detailed copies of all household objects, gastronomic delights, exotic animals, and sometimes even caricatured politicians. Moreover you can get thousand of accessories and building material for your presepe, like cork to create the mountains, ready-to-place houses, wells, waterfalls powered by electric engine, small lakes with water, trees, grasslands, bridges, towers. During Christmas time, more than half a million tourists come to see the shops with the original miniature figurines and the shops in this street are especially busy.
This lovely sea town of the Cinque Terre hosts one of the most beautiful and original Christmas cribs in the world. The Presepe di Manarola represents the Nativity scene with over 15.000 light bulbs powered by solar panels and with about 300 characters created with recycled or unused materials, such as wood and wires. This striking and bright display extends over approximately 4000 square feet on a terraced hill along the sea.
Sant’Agata Feltria, Emilia Romagna
This medieval town is also known as the Christmas village. Its historic center becomes an enchanted place with the traditional sounds of bagpipes and handcrafted cribs on display along the alleys and in the Fregoso Fortress. Also, the market square hosts Santa’s home and a lot of fun activities for children organized by the elves! The restaurants serve a menu called “Advent Dishes”, prepared according to local Christmas traditions.
Monte Amiata, Tuscany
The small towns on the beautiful Mount Amiata celebrate Christmas with a mix of Holy and ancient profane rituals involving fire. Most notably, in the village of Abbadia San Salvatore over 40 large wood piles are lit on fire during the night of the 24th of December. These are carefully crafted by the locals on the days before Christmas Eve, and serve the purpose of keeping them warm during the night celebrations. The bonfires also light up the valley, creating a beautiful scenery.
Sicilians do love the Nativity scene, you will find one in almost every square, Church and house on the island! However, the most spectacular and evocative crib is the Presepe Vivente di Custonaci, which comes to life with over 160 performers inside the beautiful, natural Mangiapane Cave. Dating back to the Upper Palaeolithic times, this cave has an opening of about 80 meters and is 70 meters deep.