Christmas - Presepe - Chiesa di San Nicolo
This was my third Christmas in Italy, so I was used to seeing the different prespe in churches, shop windows and outside. The crib in Chiesa di San Nicolo is amongst my favourites now.
The term presepe or presepio comes from the Latin word praesepium which means manger, with references to the stable where Jesus was born.
This three-dimensional "crêche" or "manger scene" representing the infant Christ and his entourage is a widespread custom throughout the Christian and particularly Catholic world.
It is traditionally traced to December of 1223, when Saint Francis of Assisi celebrated mass before a sculptured group of the Holy Family flanked by a living ox and ass (this is sometimes described as an entirely "living presepe", consisting of costumed people as well as animals) in the village of Greccio, which borders Umbria and Lazio.
The oldest Italian presepe dates back to 1280, it was made of wood by “Arnolfo di Cambio” and can be seen in the Basilica of “Santa Maria Maggiore”.
Between the 17th and 18th centuries the presepe became an important form of art, with the churches and nobility competing amongst themselves to have the best presepe. The best artists were employed to help them gain their status!
During the 19th century, models in terracotta etc, were sold in shops, enabling all classes to make a presepe in their homes.
Today, the production of figures etc for presepes is a year round occupation, although they are usually on display in churches and public places from December 8th (The Feast Day of The Immaculate Conception)- until Epiphany (January 6th)
On Christmas Eve, children place the baby Jesus figure in the manger of their own presepe at home.
Nowadays, as well as the usual biblical characters, popular personalities from sport, politics, film and music etc are included as figures.
to be continued...
Torre Del Comune
Torre del Comune or also called Torre Civica is also situated in Piazza dei Signiori just on top of the Palazzo della Podesta. Just like the palazzo, this big bell tower was built in the 13th century and then re built in the 19th century in gothic style, this was after the bombing of the 1944. This big bell is said to be heard twice daily at 9am and 5pm to advise the locals that it is the beginning or the end of their working day and also at noon along with other bells in other towers or churches around Treviso. Interesting to say while I was at the Piazza dei Signoiri just as soon as we arrived in Treviso I was telling my friends the time when the bell rings and as soon as I finished it rang!!! .. and it was mid night so yes this bell does also ring at mid night. It also rings on December 31st at mid night and on the 7th of April to remember the tragic bombing of 1944. If you would like to find more about the 1944 bombing as per my tips there are some very nice pictures along the arcades of the buildings in Piazza dei Signiori where they captured the remainings from the bombing. It is very interesting.
Located on the Cagnan canal crossing to the river Sile, it is open until midday and the local fishman (from somewhere) bring the catch to sell. The bridge is called bridge of the impossible because of the difficulty in constructing it. The name comes from Aligheri Dante in 1865. The water is very green and swift, and looks cold.
Chiesa di San Giovanni
The church of San Giovanni, or baptistery, is an Romanesque building of the late 11th and early 12th century. It has pilaster strips, small blind arches and the 14th century relief on the gable. At the sides of the doorway there are Roman age friezes. In the interiors of the church there are fresco fragments of the 12th -14th centuries, left in the apses.
Behind the church rises the massive bell tower, made in 11th and 12th centuries, unfinished at the top.
San Nicolo - interiors
The wast three - asiled interior of the church is particolarly interesting. It has a beautiful ship's - keel ceiling and frescoes by Tommaso da Modena and his school on the columns and other paintings ranging from the 16th and the 18th centuries.