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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.


presepecesenaticosmall.jpgThese scenes include the representations inspired by the sea in Romagna, in Cervia (Ra), where two nativity scenes are dedicated to the sea, the Salt Nativity and the Salt-workers Nativity,  and the historic one 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, with statues more than 4 meters high, is created by artists from countries all over Europe and the world.


Rimini hosts two 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. During this year's celebration of Fellini, there will of course be references to Federico Fellini in honor of this great Maestro.


presepemimasmall.jpgThe 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 Portico di Romagna, just inland from Forlí where the medieval town transforms into an original town of nativity scenes, with nativities popping up everywhere, in the most evocative corners, in the streets and in the squares, beautiful even at night. Or Montalbano di Zocca, on the Modena Apennines, where the holidays are an occasion for visiting, in the splendid setting of the mountains, big and small nativity scenes set up in the most lovely and characteristic places around this exceptionally beautiful town. Following the star 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.


preseplongianosmall.jpgNot 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, from which a nativity walk begins which also involves the entire historic downtown, the museums and the most suggestive places. The Nativities by Ilario Fioravanti, and curated by Flaminio and Massimo Balestra, dedicated to the terracotta pieces by this Cesena Maestro, are new to this year's edition.


The biggest mechanical nativity scene set up inside public grottoes can be found in Santarcangelo di Romagna along an underground walkway more than 200 meters long. Animations, lighting and special effects dance over one hundred statues, created by hand by the sculptor Davide Santandrea. But the new event this year is the Nativity scene in the evocative grottoes of the Teodorani family. Here the new masterpiece by Santandrea is made up of animated scenes that reenact the theme of the Sacred Family.


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 Baby Jesus and will be represented in fifteen animated scenes.
prespeviventemontefioresmall.jpgDo 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 150 figures and thirty of the episodes 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 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.


prespnapolismall.jpgRepresentations full of evangelical symbols and sacred art, in Neapolitan style or historic-oriental style, ancient nativity scenes or popular ones, animated or scenographic, can be found in the cities of art such as Ravenna, where 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.

Bologna's crib tradition dates back to the eighteenth century when great artists started creating statuettes in terracotta. Visitors can discover the 38 cribs in the city centre and also take part to interesting guided tours. While the Neapolitan tradition of the 18th century mixes with Emilian art, visitors can admire the precious Nativity of Salvatore Carullio, set up at the Galleria Parmeggiani in Reggio Emilia. The figures of the nativity scene are in the style of 17th century Emilian painting and the sumptuous architecture is typical of the Reggio Emilia school, all in a marvelous Baroque setting.


Nativity Scenes in Emilia Romagna

Last modified Jan 07, 2014

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