Italian traditions: International festival of the nativity scenes, Verona

Dec 15, 2018 519

The Arena of Verona is home to a selection of the most beautiful nativity scenes in the world, and works of art inspired by the theme of the Nativity. For the thirty-fifth consecutive year the Arena di Verona is home to the International Festival of the Nativity, a unique event with no competitors in the world.

The event consists of a rich display of nativity scenes and works of art inspired by the theme of the Nativity, from museums, collections, crèche teachers and enthusiasts around the world and, for this, it offers a picture of the complete artistic intercontinental tradition of the nativity scenes. The exhibition in the Arena continues every year to collect more positive reviews and awards, and it keeps underlining the character of multi-ethnicity and tolerance between peoples of different cultures.

Verona and Bethlehem are rediscovered together in a partnership for peace; in Betlehem, in fact, on the occasion of the Jubilee of 2000, UNESCO did promote the construction of the International Museum of the Nativity, created and curated by Alfredo Troisi, a symbol that evokes the majestic Comet of Piazza Bra, the largest Archisculpture in the world.

The festival, with more than 400 “presepi”, raises in the visitors a particular fascination and emotion. The exhibits are part of two worlds, in a sense … integrated: one regarding “the show” - the nativity scenes can be assimilate to fixed sacred representations - and the other recalling the museum-kind aspect - for certain valuable sculpturing features and for the size of some figures carved and modeled in past centuries. The first requires lights and shadows, sounds and colors typical of the show; the second requires big spaces and well-proportioned lights. Considering these aspects of the festival, the preparation is made with impressive special effects, enhancing the collective scenes of various origins and giving at the same time the due importance to individual pieces, presented in the absence of their original context.

The result is an exhibition-show in which music and light help to create the right environment in order to transform the visitor from a mere spectator to a real time actor, among sculptures and things connected not only with the traditional nativity scene, but also with art.

For further information, the website of the festival is



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