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Christmas Nativities 2015

Prized artistic versions that involve whole towns, nativity scenes on the water or on boats, live representations with hundreds of figures, delicately made in sand or salt, small mechanical moving masterpieces, multiethnic nativities and scenes in grottoes: it is Christmas in the towns and historic centers, who have dedicated many Nativities to this holy day, many of which come from the fervid creativity of artists and local townsmen.


These scenes include representations inspired by the sea, in Romagna, such as those in Cervia (Ra), where three nativity scenes are dedicated to the sea, a salt nativity and two salt-workers nativities,  or the historic nativity in the canal port of Cesenatico (Fc) set up on the boats of the Maritime Museum, which reproduces the typical maritime life figures while they pay homage to Baby Jesus. In Marina di Ravenna (Ra) a monumental nativity scene made from sand has been created by artists from countries all over Europe and the world, alongside of which a scenographic, artistic mountain-style nativity has been set up and mechanized with lights and water illusions.


Rimini hosts many spectacular and evocative Nativities. In the heart of Marina Centro, near the canal port and on the beach of Torre Pedrera, artistic nativity scenes made of sand offer visitors life-size sculpted figures in a never before seen representation created with great mastery.



The nativity is represented in the heart of Milano Marittima with a sensorial work of art for which modern animation techniques were used. Created using a glass resin mixed with bits of plexiglass, the one hundred elements in this setting, made up of pastors and sheep, glow at any time of day or night, and accompany visitors to the center of the Nativity, an evocative multi-sensorial animation, creatively elaborated with many colors, lights and music.


Whole medieval towns offer new settings for sacred representations creating a fascinating atmosphere, such as the one in Montalbano di Zocca, in the Modena Apennines, where the holidays are an occasion for visiting, in the splendid setting of the mountains, about sixty big and small nativity scenes set up in the most lovely and characteristic places around this exceptionally beautiful town. Following the comet along the streets of downtown, you can walk in the footsteps of the Magi Kings to reach the manger of the baby and get warm with vin brulè and sweets.


Not to be missed are the magical mechanical nativity scenes, first among them being the big traditional nativity scene housed in the Convent of the SS. Crocefisso, in Longiano (Fc), full of complex and fascinating mechanical movements, lights and sounds, the theme of which this year focuses on the three Parables of Mercy from the Gospel according to Luke.  From this site, a nativity walk begins which also involves the entire historic downtown, the museums and the most suggestive places.  In the 25th edition of this event there are one hundred representations of the nativity in more than forty points, with famous international artists such as Ilario Fioravanti having participated in their making.

Another original representation along an underground pathway almost two hundred meters long winds through the Solfatara grottoes, the old sulphur mine of Predappio Alta, near Forlì, and tells about each year of Jesus's life from the Annunciation to the Resurrection.  The theme of the figures this year is dedicated to the God's history and will be represented in seventeen animated scenes.


Do not miss the live nativity scenes, real scenes that will transport spectators into a unique reality. In Montefiore Conca, near Rimini, the entire downtown of this medieval village will become the natural stage for the nativity scene. More than 200 figures and thirty of the episodes are represented in as many scene sets created along a path that winds through the streets of the town and ends with the Nativity set up in the magnificent Arena at the foot of the imposing Malatesta Fortress.  In Bettola, near Piacenza, the entire square will be transformed and will be enlivened by over 100 figures representing ancient trades and key personalities in the history of the birth of Jesus.  The representations will be described by narrators, and at their end, spectators will have the possibility to enter into the scenes and admire them up close.  In Ferrara, the live nativity reenacts scenes from the Gospel, from the Annunciation to the birth of Jesus, and up to the arrival of the Magi, while on December 20 Reggio Emilia invites you to join the parade that will go from Basilica di San Prospero up to the parvis of the Cathedral.


Representations full of evangelical symbols and sacred art, in Neapolitan style or historic-oriental style, ancient nativity scenes or popular ones, mechanized or scenographic, can be found in the cities of art. In Ravenna, many scenes can be admired in the churches and various places around the historic center. In Ferrara, after the solemn blessing there will be a night walk with torches with scuba divers who will place Baby Jesus in the crèche set up in the waters around the Estense Castle. Reggio Emilia will instead be the proud host of the dioramas created by Pierluigi Melegari for the Nativity of the Ghiara. Bologna offers a great tour among churches, which house many nativity scenes, themed exhibitions and shows, all of which are faithful to the Bologna tradition, characterized by their heavy use of terracotta.  The guided walking tours are divided into 44 stops.


Masterpieces in the Neapolitan style can be admired in Ravenna, including the great artistic and scenographic nativity in 18th century Neapolitan style created by Francesco di Francesco, and in Longiano, where the original nativity at the Castello Malatestiano has this year been entrusted to the contemporary Naples artist Lucio Del Pezzo who will present his Geometric Nativity Scene.

Nativity Scenes in Emilia Romagna

Last modified Dec 22, 2015

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