December 24, 2012. (Romereports.com)
The Nativity set at St. Peter's Square is a bit different this year. Whereas in past years it was characterized by nearly a dozen large-sized sculptures, this time around there are over 100 smaller figurines depicting the Nativity scene. All the characters are depicted within a small town resembling Matera, in Southern Italy.
The set was a gift from the region of Basilicata. Its author says it reflects the austerity and poverty in which Jesus was born.
“The life of the peasants revolved around work, family and community life. They're people that are happy with what little they have, they know that what is important is to live well, and to help others. Christ was born among these people.”
The figurines of the peasants are dressed in starched, hand-made clothing, inspired by the traditional attire of that region. But, the Holy Family remains dressed in classical form.
The Nativity set is packed with holy places, as well as biblical symbols. Within the grotto, the artist included these Byzantine frescoes, which can be found in Basilicata.
They evoke 150 rupestrian churches and monasteries that define the region, which altogether has been designated as a Patrimony to Humanity.
“In Matera, there are nearly 150 rupestrian churches, the frescoes of the Crypt of the Original Sin, also known as the Basilicata Sistine Chapel. Inside the grotto, I've painted the rock art depicting the apostles Peter and James.”
The Nativity set also features a light and sound display with traditional Christmas music from the region. A reason, the author suggests, to visit the Nativity scene at night time.