|picture (December 2022) from the Facebook page of the |
Empolese Valdelsa and Montalbano Tourist Area,
between Florence and Pisa: land of art
Both sites are among the largest creations of Christmas scenes in Italy.
this picture and the next ones from the Facebook page of
"Le dame dell' uncinetto"
Her choice to make a Christmas scene may also be related to a tradition that from around 2010 was developing in her hometown of Cerreto Guidi: the idea to organize in December as Christmas approaches a competition La via dei Presepi (The Road of the Cribs).
From early December to early January there would be a public display of around a hundred nativity scenes made by private persons, situated along a route in the inner city along shops, libraries and other public places, with a prize for the most beautiful scene.
In 2014, Gessica took part in this competition and with her newly, still small crocheted nativity scene of 1.5 meters she won the first prize.
When making her Christmas crib, she was assisted by some crocheters from the area, this via a call on Facebook.
The first prize encouraged her and the other women involved to continue their creative project and so today (2023) the nativity scene has grown considerably. With a length of 30 m it is one of the largest in Italy
The Christmas scene shows characters and buildings from the community of Cerreto Guidi, as well as scenes of gardens and fields in the rural area around the city.
In addition to this famous building, there are replicas of all kinds of historic and other buildings, but also replicas of shops. markets and other public places from the village of Cerreto Guidi, all made with attention to the smallest details and everything rigorously crocheted.
The scenes ar often full of people and one can also meet well-known characters of the community, such as the local priest or the butcher. The scenes of the countryside in the area show vegetable and flower gardens, with fruits and flowers depicted in detail.
A group of some fifty crochet ladies.
The small group of people who had assisted Gessica Mancini in the very beginning, grew over the years. It became an association of more than 50 women, of all ages and living in all kinds of places in Italy.
In consultation with Gessica Mancini they make entire scenes or parts of scenes, such as walls, bricks, parts of the street or certain costumes, which are often sent by parcel post when the contributing lady lives further away.
The association, referred to in Italian as LE DAME DELL'UNCINETT0 (The ladies of crochet) has its own page on Facebook.
A nationwide inventory of Christmas nativity scenes
The county has a large number of cities and villages where nativity scenes are installed in public spaces or in churches and other meeting places.
There is now a National Association of Cities of Cribs, chaired by the mayor of Cerreto Guidi. which, at the end of October 2022, together with the Ministry of Culture started mapping cribs in Italy. In addition to data on number and location, the working group, coordinated by the Central Institute for Intangible Heritage of the Ministry of Culture, also investigates immaterial aspects, such as the history of the creation, the skills, knowledge and motivation of the makers and the involvement of local residents.
Wouldn't it be a good idea to start this context in some way a project focused on an investigation of the artistic aspects of Christmas cribs in Italy ?
* Video on Facebook by Italia on the road with an overview of a large part of the Christmas scene
* Video (2018) on the Facebook page of Le Dame dell' uncinetto