Traditionally, the focus of Christmas decorations in Italy is the Nativity scene (presepe in Italian). You can find them in churches, city squares, shops, and in most homes.
The Nativity Scenes are usually set up on December 8, the Day of the Immaculate Conception, and stay on display until January 6, the Epiphany Day. Although the presepe is usually set up before Christmas, baby Jesus is added on Christmas Eve.
The Nativity scene is said to have originated with St. Francis of Assisi in 1223 when he constructed a nativity scene in a cave in the town of Greccio (Lazio region) and held Christmas Eve mass and a nativity procession there.
Where can you see the Christmas Cribs and Nativity Scenes around Maremma? Here are some of the loveliest displays in southern Tuscany!
Porto Santo Stefano
The Underwater Nativity Scene is set in one of the tubs in the Argentario Mediterranean Aquarium.
The sea village of Porto Santo Stefano also celebrates the Holiday Season with a Living Nativity Scene in the historic center, next to the Spanish Fortress.
Relive Bethlehem in the historic center of Porto Ercole, where locals reenact the Nativity Scene in December and early January.
This village built on tufa rock hosts a Living Nativity Scene in Piazza S. Gregorio VII.
Scansano & Sorano
In these two villages, you can enjoy an exhibition of different artistic nativity scenes crafted by artisans.
The small village of Montorsaio is also known as the ‘the town of nativity scenes’. In fact, its historic center hosts many presepi, including a very particular one in the main square, where the statues are handmade in terracotta and feature the faces of the local inhabitants.
In the Church of S. Antonio you can admire a beautiful, monumental nativity scene.
Photo credit: Header image from industriadelturismo.com