Enchanting Italian Nativities

Italian Xmas (Natale) is full of magic, especially, for foreigners and even more for Russians. Beautiful Xmas traditions come from the old days, and even as far as the Middle Ages.

One of the wonderful Christmas traditions is presented by Nativity scenes (presepe) which are installed in churches, tiny chapels, piazzas, shop windows, almost everywhere. Many families use to make nativities together with their children and some of them keep ancient family presepe made by their grandparents.

The first nativity play was performed in 1223 by Saint Francis in Greccio (Lazio). St. Francis asked Pope Honorius III permission to put on a miracle-play about the birth of Jesus for common people. The nativity play took place in a cave with participation of live actors, a bull and a donkey. St. Francis preached about the nativity and at the end of his sermon, a real baby miraculously appeared in the crib. Read more…

Last Epiphany, we visited the Shrine of the Holy House (Basilica of the Santa Casa) in Loreto (Le Marche). A very richly decorated Nativity scene looked very appropriate against the background of the white baroque Basilica.

Read more, see more photos

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The Nativity of Greggio by Saint Francis

The Miraculous Bambino Gesu

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