The art of making artistic Christmas cribs is a very ancient tradition in Sicily, which has
seen great masters at work on the island. The tecniques are often handed down from father to son. Some of these nativity scenes, centuries-old, are still existing today and open to visitors. A lot of different materials were used to realize the cribs: wood, ivory, terracotta, bone, coral, wax but also silver and gold. The scene was often represented in the typical sicilian countryside or among classical ruins.
Some of these cribs are inside churches and visible the whole year. Others are exhibited only during the Christmas period. Now have a look at the locations of the most ancient and the most beautiful sicilian Christmas cribs.
The sicilian “town of cribs” is Caltagirone, in province of Catania. This town, famous for ceramics, has had famous families of craftmans (Bongiovanni and Vaccaro), which realized terracotta cribs since the 18th century. Every year a lot of events are organized in Caltagirone during the Christmas period and during the week-ends, the town is crowded with tourists who visit the churches with their Nativity scenes. In Caltagirone, in the last years, a lot of ethnic and fantasy Christmas cribs were built besides the originary ancient Nativities. The most ancient is the historic crib of the 18th century, made by the Vaccaro family and exhibited in the cathedral of San Giuliano. There are also other traditional cribs (crib of arts and craftmanships, biblish crib, crib with sicilian puppets, Betlehem crib), cribs for kids (tales crib, Walt Disney crib, train crib) and ethnic and modern cribs (missionary crib, wonder crib, animated cardboard crib). It is also possible to visit the international Christmas cribs museum , the Christmas market, the ceramics shops and the beautiful baroque churches. Caltagirone is in the Unesco world heritage list. The updated program of events of Christmas in Caltagirone is published on the official page of the tourist office.
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