We use our own and third party cookies to improve your user experience; by continuing to browse, we understand that you accept their use. You can get more information on our cookies policy.

Rome Reports

You are using an outdated browser

In order to deliver the greatest experience to our visitors we use cutting edge web development techniques that require a modern browser. To view this page please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer 11 or greater

Among many Nativity scenes at the Vatican this Christmas, one is always around


Around the Vatican, there are hundreds of Nativity Scenes on display for the month of December from all over the world. However, there is one that has been around for over 40 years and stays open all year long just feet from St. Peters’. 

Giuseppe Ianni created the Sanitary Workers´ nativity scene, in 1972 and has added to it every year since. 46 years ago it was a simple garage but Giuseppe saw potential to make it into something greater. Now, it is a beautiful Nativity scene made to accurately reflect Palestine 2,000 years ago. 

GIUSEPPE IANNI
“It's all here. There are the rivers and aqueducts. That aqueduct you see is made of marble fragments of the facade of St. Peter's when they restored it. I made a request to the Cardinal and they gave it to me. I can´t express my excitement to divide it up and put them on and have everything proportionate”.

The whole scene features 105 houses with 165 windows, 870 stairs, 16 meters of aqueducts and 12 meters of rivers. It also obviously features the most important figures, St. Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus. 

Millions of people have come to see the masterpiece Giuseppe has created. That includes three saints, Paul VI, John Paul II and Teresa of Calcutta. 

In the manger and around the room one can find stones from all over the world that people have brought to Giuseppe. Each one is labeled with the country, or even planet, like one from the moon or this piece from Mars. 

While one’s Christmas Manger at home may not be as elaborate or large, Giuseppe still has some suggestions. 

GIUSEPPE IANNI
“What do I recommend? I say It requires a lot of love, faith and knowledge. Also, you have to read the Bible because everything is there.”

He also highlights the other important thing is good material like Roman Limestone and that everything is done in proportion. One can visit this ever-evolving replica of Jesus’ birth all year long from 9 am to 7 pm with extended hours in the Christmas season to accommodate all visitors.