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Rome Reports

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Spectacular Nativity scene opens in Italian President's home, the Quirinal Palace


The miniature version of an UNESCO World Heritage Site has come to life at the Quirinal Palace in Rome in this nativity scene. The city of Matera, Italy, is nearly perfectly displayed, after having toured throughout the world since 2009.

The Director of the project explained that the Nativity Scene has been in Assisi, in St. Peter's Square for pope emeritus Benedict XVI and in New York before coming to the Quirinal Palace. 

MARIANO LUIGI SCHIAVONE
Territorial Promotion Agency of Basilicata
"This year we are here in this prestigious venue that the Quirinal that is the home of the Italians, where we bring up history, culture, tradition of a reason, enters. Through the particular stone city Matera, many will live this important moment that will remember Matera as the capital of cultureJanuary 2019.”

It took the artist two and a half months to create each of the 120 characters and background shown in the Nativity scene. They represent everything from daily life in Matera to Franciscan spirituality, with St. Francis and St. Clare, to baby Jesus in quite a particular way.  

FRANCESCO ARTESE
Artist
“The Mary in the Nativity scene is different than the classical image. The child has his arms in the form of the cross. Salvation passes from the loving arms of the mother, to the child's compassionate cross-shaped arms."

In addition to the religious aspect, there is also a special meaning for the unity of Italy as a whole. The scene displays the historical culture of being all together in the town center, as well as traditions in small cities that still exist today.

MARIANO LUIGI SCHIAVONE
Territorial Promotion Agency of Basilicata
“Through this manger scene, the entire story of Italy is told. Through our history, the characters and scenes are even more present. Every Italian can see him or her self in this environment, which is a moment of great communion and common interest. It's a moment of common greatness, good, values, of culture and of fraternity.” 

FRANCESCO ARTESE
Artist
“There's an aspect of everyday life in this scene. Tasks one should do, so every man has a future in peace, in love. It is important that in upholding these values, we find humility, simplicity, and the special the relationship between neighbors that is important many years ago.”

The President of the Republic of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, also made a special visit to see the inauration of the Nativity scene. It will remain open to the public until Jan. 5, 2019.