Apart from reduced travel expenses, increased accommodation availability, and a more tranquil atmosphere due to the reduced tourist influx, winter travel also offers a special event that lends a magical touch to wintertime escapades in Italy.
In this blog, we will discover Italy’s Christmas magic with must-see living nativities near Rome that you can attend on your next winter trip to Italy during the Christmas holidays.
From the distant echoes of 1223, when Saint Francis spun a tale that would enchant the world, to the present day, the Italian regions of Lazio and beyond have been staging Living and Artistic Nativity Scenes that transport you to a bygone era.
These breathtaking scenes don't just add sparkle to the festive season but also breathe life into ancient cultural and religious traditions like a time-honored ritual passed down through the ages. Churches come alive with artistic Nativity Scenes that transport you into the very heart of the Nativity story.
But imagine walking through the cobbled streets of quaint Italian towns, where the air is filled with a palpable sense of reverence and wonder. It's here, amidst the centuries-old buildings, that you'll encounter true masterpieces – the fruit of local artists' boundless passion and creativity. But it's not just the artists; it's the ordinary folks too, driven by a heartfelt desire to commemorate the birth of the Baby Jesus.
Municipalities, associations, and the local town Pro Loco (local organizations that promote local festivals) collaborate harmoniously to orchestrate these enchanting Nativity scenes. The settings are nothing short of mesmerizing, often taking place in historically rich locales, some of which are genuinely one-of-a-kind.
Yet, it's the Living Nativity Scenes that truly steal the spotlight. These productions feature a plethora of classic Nativity characters, authentically dressed in period-appropriate attire. As you step into this immersive experience, you'll find yourself transported back in time, surrounded by the ethereal sights and sounds of a bygone era – a time when the world awaited the birth of Jesus.
Year after year, the locals of charming villages pour their hearts and souls into this cherished tradition, keeping it alive for generations to come. The enchanting historical backdrop of these small towns adds an extra layer of allure to the festive season. They transform into open-air stages, where time stands still, and the magic of Christmas reignites a flame that has burned bright for centuries.
So, when you find yourself in Italy during the holiday season, don't miss the chance to be part of this enchanting tradition of Living Nativity Scenes. It's a journey that will not only kindle your festive spirit but also transport you back in time, letting you experience the birth of Jesus in a way that's as profound as it is mesmerizing.
In this blog, we'll showcase some of the must-see Living Nativity Scenes near Rome, among the numerous ones found across Italy.
A quick disclaimer: While we've highlighted these living nativity scenes for their long-standing tradition, we cannot guarantee their annual occurrence. We recommend checking online for the latest information before planning your visit to any of these remarkable Living Nativity events.
Experience the enchantment of Tarquinia's Living Nativity Scene held on multiple dates between Christmas and Epiphany. Tucked in the medieval and Etruscan charm of Tarquinia, this event transforms the town's alleyways into a Christmas wonderland. Building upon past successes, this year promises exciting innovations.
Amidst the traditional nativity figures, expect to encounter mesmerizing fakirs, serpentine performances, fiery displays, sword dances, and more. This Living Nativity Scene is a highly anticipated spectacle in the province of Viterbo, where hundreds of dedicated volunteers invest three months in crafting intricate sets worthy of a theatrical production.
Prepare for an unforgettable journey through history, culture, and Christmas magic as you explore the winding streets, from Campo Cialdi's Roman legion camp to Vicolo Storto's ancient craft shops, bustling Piazza della Tribuna, and the medieval splendor of Piazza San Martino, culminating in the grand procession of the Three Kings from the San Giusto barrier.
Witness history come to life at the historical re-enactment of the Greccio Nativity Scene of 1223, set to unfold between December 24 through Epiphany. Distinguished from traditional nativity scenes, this mesmerizing event reenacts the birth of the world's first nativity scene created by Saint Francis of Assisi in collaboration with Giovanni Velita, the Noble Lord of Greccio.
Set against Greccio's evocative backdrop, this re-enactment promises spiritual depth and emotional engagement, unveiling pivotal moments in Saint Francis's life that led to the creation of the iconic Nativity. The enchanting spectacle unfolds at the Sanctuary-Hermitage of Greccio, perched over 700 meters above sea level, a short distance from the village of Greccio.
The Nativity Scene of Greccio
Location of the Living Nativity Scene: Greccio (RI)
Tickets: Free entry
For an enchanting Christmas experience, look no further than the picturesque village of Civita di Bagnoregio. Between Christmas and Epiphany, this small gem of Tuscia will be transformed into a quintessential holiday wonderland.
Renowned as one of Italy's most beautiful villages and a potential UNESCO heritage site, Civita di Bagnoregio becomes an open-air theater that draws tens of thousands of visitors annually.
Amidst the medieval charm of Civita di Bagnoregio, the Living Nativity Scene takes on a unique and captivating dimension. You'll step back in time as you explore scenes of daily life during the era of Jesus.
Witness artisans, farmers, and shepherds immersed in their ancient crafts, Roman castrums, noble palaces, and even desert Bedouins. Of course, the wise men, the Nativity Grotto, and the Holy Family take center stage in this living tableau.
All of this unfolds amidst the charming backdrop of Civita di Bagnoregio, with its winding alleyways and panoramic vistas designed to elicit profound emotions. Be prepared for a feast of effects, colors, and lights that transform the village into an unforgettable, otherworldly realm.
Living Nativity Scene in Civita di Bagnoregio (in the historic center)
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/cribagnoregio
Location of the Living Nativity Scene
From 4.00pm to 7.00pm
Corchiano's Living Nativity Scene, one of Tuscia's most enchanting, is a captivating open-air theatrical spectacle. This is no ordinary Nativity; it's a breathtaking show.
A grandstand provides an excellent vantage point to soak in the Nativity's magnificent scenery, adorned with new perspectives, crafts, and special effects. Authentic period costumes combined with a natural dramatic backdrop of the complete enchantment. Corchiano's residents, alongside those from neighboring towns in the province of Viterbo, actively participate, even offering their own infants to play the role of baby Jesus.
You'll also find stalls offering delightful local products. The event organizers have arranged free camper parking and visitor packages encompassing meals, tours, and show admission.
The Living Nativity Scene in Corchiano unfolds amid the breathtaking backdrop of the Natural Monument of the Forre between Christmas and Epiphany. Entrance begins at 5:30 PM, and tickets can be conveniently booked online on the official Living Nativity Scene of Corchiano website, with the ticket office and info point located in Piazza IV Novembre.
Historic center of Corchiano
Show times: from 5.30 PM onwards.
For information: https://presepeviventecorchiano.com/
Experience the enchantment of Christmas in Vejano, where the spirit of the season comes alive on multiple dates between December 26 until Epiphany.
This Living Nativity Scene which began as an initiative to entertain primary school children in 2001, has grown into a beloved tradition that captivates the entire village. With 350 participants adorning the streets, all 2000 residents of this Tuscia gem contribute to crafting a grand and unique spectacle.
The route, spanning about 800 meters, commences at the Arco dei Granai, winding through medieval alleyways and quaint squares. Torch-lit figures breathe life into the arts and crafts of bygone eras, accompanied by enchanting Oriental music.
As you approach the Nativity Hut, the Polyphonic Choir of the Assumption serenades with celestial songs, intensifying the atmosphere.
The immersion in this mystical representation is nothing short of magical. Classic nativity characters like potters, painters, spinners, weavers, and many more populate the village, engrossed in their daily activities.
Key moments from Jesus's history, such as the Census, the Soldiers' camp, the Roman House, Prisons, and King Herod's majestic palace, are vividly recreated. Even the animals play their part, enhancing the authenticity and evocative ambiance, all cared for and respected.
The spacious streets and tree-lined squares in Vejano's center offer a tranquil viewing experience. Parking near the village entrances ensures convenience for visitors. Don't miss this chance to be transported into the heart of Christmas magic in Vejano.
The Living Nativity will take place in the alleys of the village of Vejano
Time: At dusk
Get ready to be enchanted by the medieval village of Bolsena, the perfect backdrop for the Nativity representation set in its oldest district, the Castello. This Living Nativity Scene is a collaborative effort between the Corte dei Miracoli association and the municipality of Bolsena, seamlessly blending the spiritual and tourist dimensions.
As you stroll through the ancient cellars, narrow alleys, and charming squares aglow with torches and hand-sculpted wrought iron torches, you'll be immersed in a captivating atmosphere.
The journey covers over 700 meters and offers tasting stands, piped music, and itinerant artists. The event kicks off with Mary and Joseph embarking on their pilgrimage in search of shelter. On January 5th, the Three Kings join the journey, traveling the entire route to offer their gifts to Baby Jesus.
With the participation of 200 individuals, including three infants born in the same year playing the role of Jesus, and numerous volunteers, including the Red Cross, the event unfolds seamlessly.
Living Nativity Scene in Bolsena
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/presepeviventebolsena
Location of the Living Nativity Scene: the Castello district of Bolsena
Free entry from 5:30 PM
Step into the enchanting world of the Living Nativity Scene, set against the backdrop of Montefiascone's historic center, a renowned destination in the Tuscia Viterbo area, near Lake Bolsena.
The event commences with Mary and Joseph's arrival in the main square, followed by a procession of 150 characters donning period costumes, portraying the typical professions of the era. This immersive experience transports spectators into a magical Christmas atmosphere, culminating in the Nativity Grotto.
Nestled within Montefiascone's medieval charm, the scenography creates an unforgettable event. As you explore the Living Nativity Scene, you can savor local delicacies, making it an ideal opportunity not only to commemorate the Birth of Jesus but also to uncover the village's ancient allure and culinary delights.
The Living Nativity will take place along the streets of the historic center of Montefiascone with entrance from via Bandita and exit via Trento starting from 5.00 pm.
Events are held on multiple dates from December 26 through Epiphany
Organized by: Friends of the Colle Association
Piazza V. Emanuele, Via San Pietro, Via Bixio,
Benedictine Monastery (Via Garibaldi – Via del Barone)
Tel. +39 3188.8.131.527