Artistic nativity scenes

Artistic nativity scenes

Artistic nativity scenes

During the Christmas period in many places you can find beautiful nativity scenes with attention to the smallest details; very often, in fact, these real works are exhibited in shopping centers or are exhibited in towns or in real exhibitions, we are obviously talking about artistic nativity scenes, created precisely with the aim of being exhibited. However, we must not be fooled by the name, i artistic nativity scenes they can also be simple, but equally beautiful, amateur nativity scenes, which are created for the pure pleasure of making them. Often associations such as that of the "Friends of the Nativity" collects these wonderful small works and makes wonderful exhibitions that I strongly recommend you visit if you have the opportunity. In past centuries it was customary in Italy, especially in some areas, to have beautiful nativity scenes made by real artists, these nativity scenes are kept in real museums, being real pieces of art history, nowadays there is no longer this custom but for pleasure many people make cribs that we can define "for display".


Obviously the realization of these nativity scenes can take longer, we have already talked about the fact that these small works can also be very simple, but in any case they require a previous study, or if we want a guideline to follow. When we talked about how to make a nativity scene we talked about the advantages of having a pattern to follow, in the case of an artistic display nativity scene you can't do anything if you don't have a precise pattern. In fact, those who create these works choose the materials to use and how to make everything before starting, surely many of you will have seen small cribs made with very special materials on display in some small exhibition, next to them there are larger cribs made in the minimum particular, in the first case there is, so to speak, the obsession with searching for the reality that there is in the second case. The largest and most majestic nativity scenes are in fact made with great detail, the artists obtain all the elements of the scenography using different materials with painstaking patience, they take a long time to create their work and display it with satisfaction once finished, let's say that many makers of these cribs are passionate about modeling and know how to move in this environment, they know where to find what they need for their crib but they also know how and where to find the natural elements with which to obtain what they need.

Artists and amateurs

We talked about artists who make these nativity scenes, but obviously we are not referring in most cases to artists in the true sense of the word. These cribs are made by amateurs who delight in the making of plastic models as a hobby and obviously the crib can not be considered; in other cases it is instead a passion born from the nativity scene built to decorate the house for the holidays, the project grows year after year until it comes to creating a beautiful or very original nativity scene perfect to be displayed. In short, we are not talking at all about a closed or unreachable circle, anyone can build their nativity scene and put it on display, just have originality and good ideas. Let's not even talk about something too expensive, each piece of the scenography can be made with any material, polystyrene, plywood and so on and so forth, I emphasize again that a quality that certainly must not be lacking is imagination, certainly without of that one does not go on. If anything, some expenses can be incurred if you want to achieve something more, as it were, mechanical. In this case there are in fact figurines and mechanical parts to be placed for the nativity scene, there are also small but useful devices able to create fog or mist, or able to manage the flow of a small stream that passes next to the hut; let's not talk about the lights, a skilful use of lights for the nativity scene can create fantastic angles and often it is precisely in the lights that the spending budget to create increases a little, it being understood that you can very well make an exhibition nativity scene without resorting to fog, lights or mechanical parts but built simply with natural or particular elements, remember, just be very original.


In short, if you want to create and exhibit your nativity scene, you just have to get to work, of course it takes time, think that the biggest nativity scenes sometimes require a year or more of work, patience, too, must not be lacking. however the cribs are always very popular works that are always successful or at least tear a sincere smile.

Artistic nativity scenes, some of the most original in Puglia

With the arrival of the Christmas, in Puglia important events and manifestations continue to surprise one another in terms of originality is charm. Although the traditions continue to be respected and re-presented every year, the region never misses the opportunity to stand out and make your own customs increasingly captivating and innovative.

After meeting some of the markets and villages of Santa Claus not to be missed, another tradition inextricably linked to December 25 is to be found in the creation of the cribs.

Present in all the houses right next to the Christmas tree, i cribs, as is well known, they are a representation of the birth of Jesus. Inevitable, therefore, in his stable are the figures of Mary, Joseph, the ox and the donkey.

Re-proposing nativity scenes with people in flesh and blood allows you to make an incredible journey of inclusion within a world that is now so far from ours but no less fascinating and worthy of being discovered.

So what are the most original nativity scenes in Puglia of Christmas 2019? Let's find out together.

Artistic Nativity Scenes

The exhibition

In the Hypogeum Paths of the Monsampolo dei Tronto Castle, characterized by an architectural jubilation of tunnels, caves, cells, passages, niches, stairways, galleries, underground pavements and archaeological finds, there are numerous works that illustrate the variety and value of art crib. All the works are the result of the master's artistic commitment and manual skill Luigi Girolami, who developed his own technique. The exhibition is considered one of the most important in the Italian nativity scene and annually is visited by many admirers, especially during the Christmas period, where it is open every day from 8 December until 6 January. Among the prominent works we mention the three monumental cribs: "Medieval Crib" the "Palestinian Crib" and the "Caciare Crib". The "Medieval Nativity" is inserted in a vast setting animated by 500 characters explores the Middle Ages of Greccio reconstructing the religious, military and civil plot of the world of the Poverello of Assisi. The "Palestinian crib" (There was no room for them in the hotel) is very accurate in detail and rich in oriental figures that compose the society of the time of the Holy Family reproduced with numerous skits ranging from the departure for Bethlehem to the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. The "Caciare Nativity" reproduces the world of farmhouses in the land of Pope Nicholas IV is a Carthusian work that sets the Nativity in the stone pastoral shelters of the picturesque mountain of Ascoli (tholos, commonly called "caciare" and "casciali"). Among other works of considerable importance we mention: the "Jesus and the Romans" crib developed in a "circle" to allow visitors to walk around the model and trace the biblical events of the life of Jesus, the "Grandparents' Nativity Scenes" obtained with the papier-mâché and celluloid figurines of the 1940s-1960s, the Double-sided crib "East and West" and many others who manifest an artistic language that borders on the desire to propose new creations as well as the path of peculiarity in expressing the joyful theme of the birth of the Redeemer.

Luigi Girolami was born and lives in Monsampolo del Tronto. Author of historical publications and renowned nativity scene, from 1998 to 2009 he was part of the Italian Association of Friends of the Nativity, taking care of interesting reports on the history of the Nativity scene and publishing the "Monsampolese techniques" in the magazines "Il Presepio" and in other magazines of the Republic Czech. His secret lies in being able to apply, in a personal and original way, the techniques of modeling to traditional crib set-ups, having extraordinary effects in the contexts of historical and evangelical topics materialized with his systems of eclectic and volcanic artistic expression. She inherited the love for the Nativity scene and the creative dexterity from her mother, who made country cribs "with clay puppets painted with charcoal" since she was a child. Since 2000, studying the municipal documents, he has recovered in his country the local tradition of the sons of S. Francesco, who in the convent of SS. Crucifix set up "cribs of small puppets": therefore, his works, which illustrate the Life of Jesus, the Middle Ages of Greccio, the Egypt of the Pharaohs, the China of the first Emperor, the Film of the Nativity, the Civilization of the Pueblos, Professions of Padre Pio, Rural Poverty, Popular Games and many other unthinkable representations, use miniature characters from 1.5 to 20 cm, developing with settings played on the effect of the rocky morphologies alluding to the picturesque Ascoli hinterland. The artist has exhibited his works in high-profile exhibitions set up in Loreto, Ancona, Ripe San Ginesio, S. Angelo in Pontano, Ascoli Piceno, Colonnella.

Opening time

Due to the Covid 19 emergency, the Civic Museums are temporarily closed to the public.

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Fortress of other times - Biennial exhibition of artistic nativity scenes curated by Antonio Pigozzi and the Cammino ad Oriente Nativity Group with the artistic collaboration of Silvia Gigli

  • Fortress of other times - Biennial exhibition of artistic nativity scenes curated by Antonio Pigozzi and the Cammino ad Oriente Nativity Group with the artistic collaboration of Silvia Gigli
  • 2019-12-08T00: 00: 00 + 01: 00
  • 2020-01-26T23: 59: 00 + 01: 00

From 8 December 2019 to 26 January 2020, in the splendid setting of the Medieval Fortress of Montefiorino, returns:
ROCCA D 'ALTRI TEMPI - IV Edition - The Nativity scene as an Artist of Smiles

Exhibition of artistic nativity scenes by Antonio Pigozzi and the Cammino ad Oriente Nativity Group, with the artistic collaboration of Gigli Silvia and with the patronage of the Italian Association of Friends of the Nativity Scene, the Emilia-Romagna Region and the Province of Modena

Exhibition opening hours:
Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 to 13.00 and from 14.00 to 18.00
From 23 December to 6 January every day from 10.00 to 13.00 and from 14.00 to 18.00

On December 25th from 10.00 to 13.00

Free offer entrance

For information and out of hours visits: Tiziano 3381121652

Handcrafted nativity scenes (photo): here are the most beautiful in Italy. Region by region


A symbol of identity. But also of diversity between artistic styles, use of materials, vocation of the territory, narrative declinations. Souls and people from such typical places, like the Italian regions. The exhibition at the Quirinale Nativity scenes of Italy, small but of great intensity, encloses around one of the most popular religious iconographies, the creative contamination of a country and. Where, let us remember, in the Risorgimento period regional federalism was one of the options, then defeated, to build national unity. And today it is still the regions that trace that difference which, if it does not lead to sterile localism, is able to make Italy unique.

READ ALSO: DIY Christmas decorations, a collection of curious and simple ideas to make


Here is the Abruzzo nativity scene, an elm trunk sculpted by Piero Boschetti, which condenses the solid, compact character of a people. Basilicata, with a scenario by the master craftsman Mario D'Addiego, who traces the Sassi of Matera, and gives us a Holy Family protected by the common people, by the warmth of men and women capable of expressing a strong sense of community, even in their simple lives, sometimes very poor. Calabria, a mystical nativity scene, signed by the Reverend Antonio Rotondo, with patches of color that refer to the yellow of Vangoghi's impressionism. And Campania, where the artists Biagio Ruscigno and Guglielmo Muoio of the Ancient Center of San Gregorio Armeno, have chosen the metaphor of the ruins of a Roman age temple, a sign of a porous decadence, even physical, to set the arrival of the kings Magi. The work is taken from a free interpretation of an eighteenth-century terracotta sketch, signed by the architect Domenico Padiglione, in which wealth shines through only in the accessories. Starting with the clothes of the Magi, in San Leucio silk, the mark of a kingdom at the height of its splendor. There is no stable, there is no cave: but those remains of a ruined temple remind us, with a poetic touch, of the affliction of a piece of Italy.

The crib is also history. Those who still think they are hiding it should understand it, with a minimum of intellectual humility, as a symbol that clearly refers only and only to a religious identity. Of course: the origin of this Italian tradition dates back to none other than St. Francis of Assisi, so it has a DNA rooted in the pages of the Gospels. But its popular representation also makes it an image, if you want a repertoire, of the history of a population. The polychrome terracotta figurines of the Emilia Romagna crib, made by various artists between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, convey the idea of ​​a red thread that, through the crib, binds the history of men and women over the course of the centuries. Like the essential mosaic of the Friuli Venezia Giulia nativity scene, here the signature is of the artist Lorenzo Boemo, with traces of Byzantine iconography so deeply rooted in the chromosomes of this region. Or like the imaginary scene of the Lazio nativity scene, in enameled iron and glass, in which Enza and Giuseppe Salamone bring together St. Francis and the Child Jesus. The synthesis of the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church.


The nativity scene is high craftsmanship, very fine carving , as in the case of the sinuous representation of Liguria, the work of the eighteenth-century artist Pasquale Navone, where the Madonna's robe is embellished with lace or gilt braid collars. Or the Lombard crib, where the laborious local essentiality stands out, through the figures of the master Onorato Ferrari, all in two types of materials, plaster and wood. A scenario that overturns in the Palestinian-style scenography of the Marches, the work of Cesare Marchi, enriched with work tools and typical products of the region, and in the oriental stamp nativity of the Sicilian crib, with an extraordinary and rich polychromy of coral, silver and gold. Here too, as in Naples, in the contrast of an environment consisting of the ruins of a classical building.


Finally, the nativity scene leads back to recollection, to the intimacy of the place and of the people : that of Molise, by Dante Pietro Barricella, evokes the Roman city of Saepinium that of Piedmont brings us into the atmosphere of Christmas holidays with houses covered by snow that of Puglia, by Marco Epicochi, to the Salento rocky countryside that of Sardinia, by Marta Crespellani, to the edges of the sea crowded with people fleeing violence and war that of Tuscany, by Simone Fiori, in the Renaissance light of his statuettes. Veneto also made a very local choice, presenting Matteo Tagliapietra's nativity scene, handmade in artistic Murano glass, while Valle d'Aosta has focused on the fairytale atmosphere, signed by Giovanni Thoux, of its mountains, Alto Adige on the artistic tradition of Val Gardena by the hand of Ivo Piazza and Trentino (work by Felix Deflorian) on the domestic crib of Val di Fiemme. To close the work of Umbria, the land of San Francesco, where the characters of Laura Prospera's Nativity, all in terracotta, recall the lines of Modigliani's painting. The exhibition is open to the public during the Christmas holidays, and you can book a visit through the Quirinale website. Don't miss it.


(Source images: Quirinale photographic office )

Video: Carnegie Museum of Arts Neapolitan Presepio