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Rome Reports

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Vatican inaugurates exhibition of world's most beautiful Christmas mangers

Every Christmas thousands visit the “100 Presepi” exhibition in Rome, which brings together spectacular nativity scenes from all over the world. This year it is hosted inside the Vatican. 

President, Pont. Council for New Evangelization
“I would say that the Nativity Scene is an expression of universality, because it is a universal language. It doesn't only speak to some, it speaks to all.”

Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras)
“Today, the secularized world wants to remove the nativity scene from Christmas... They don't even want to call it Christmas anymore, they call it Happy Holidays. Well, Happy Holidays can be anything. Christmas is unchangeable, because Christmas without Jesus is not Christmas.”

Panama's ambassador, Miroslava Rosas, also participated in the inauguration. Her country was one of the key participants on the first day, because they offered its music...

They also offered its dances...

...and its mangers. 

Panamanian Ambassador for the Vatican
“This is a handmade Nativity scene featuring our typical figures. There we see a Virgin Mary dressed in a pollera, our national dress. We see St. Joseph dressed as a peasant, a man from our countryside. Then there is this indigenous figure, because we have important indigenous groups that represent our people and that have preserved their culture throughout the years.”

One of the main organizers of this showcase is Mariacarla Menaglia. Her family founded this exhibition more than 40 years ago.  

“100 Presepi” exhibition
"The most important thing is that the Nativity transmits an emotion. I have seen the exhibition and everyone achieves that. It's important. You can see that they have given their hearts, made them with love."

In the exhibition there are distinguished characters, such as kings and shepherds. There are also animals like these. 

There are also very original nativities, like this one made with sewing objects...; 

This tiny one is made of seeds. 

This one is made of wool. 

This one even rotates.

And this one set in a prison. 

One of the most interesting ones comes from Guatemala. 

 “I made this interactive for you to pull here, slowly, and then it moves its hands. This one takes the trumpet to his mouth; this one moves the hand of this king, or raises it. And the funniest part I think is this one...”

 “In June, a volcano erupted in Guatemala, it was a tragedy. There were many victims; more than 2,000 disappeared. This is to commemorate the victims. There are doves coming out of the volcano, they reach one of the three kings, who are giving them to the Child.” 

The star of the show is this Nativity scene from Naples, Italy, which is more than 200 years old. It is full of details so that the deepest meaning of Christmas does not go unnoticed. 

There are more than 100 very different nativities, but they all point to the same figures, the most important of which are St. Joseph, the Blessed Mother, and Baby Jesus.