So this is a post of limited relevance to many, but IF you are in Italy next weekend, you should totes check out the presepe vivente (live Nativity Scene) in Civita di Bagnoregio.
If the weather is good that is. We had pretty mild conditions and loved it. A friend who went last year said it was bitterly cold and windy. I can definitely see how that would put a damper on the fun.
They did it on December 26 and January 1, and will also be offering it on January 6, 7, and 8. It runs from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm. It felt like things may have started a little early, but I can attest that they definitely shut down at 7:00.
Admittedly, it is a little bit of a schlep to get into town. The usual parking lots are not available (more on those here). You have to park in Bagnoregio, but there is a shuttle bus that runs over to Civita. The buses seemed to run fairly frequently. 1 euro for adults, and we were able to use our tickets for the return trip as well.
Unfortunately, the shuttle bus only gets you over to Caffe Belvedere so there is still a haul into town. I was glad we brought the stroller to get into town although we ditched it once we got inside the walls.
Picture it. After paying 5 euro for people over 12, you enter town passing by Roman soldiers. You head through the Arabian souk and then sign your name in the roll book and get stamped by the census taker. We saw locals mingling in stalls surrounded by fire dancers. We saw an enormous Bedouin tent. The boys “helped” knead some bread. We passed by the Magi (where you could also buy dried fruits and nuts). And THEN you get to see Mary and Joseph and Jesus. And a donkey. The kids really liked the donkey.
Other than the nuts/fruits, no food vendors set up, but all the restaurants in town are open.
Other than the tourists and kids throwing firecrackers, you really feel transported back. Civita is an amazing place anyway, and it is a pretty amazing setting. HIGHLY recommend.
More info here: https://www.facebook.com/civitadibagnoregio/timeline
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