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...
Treviso, like many towns in Italy, has fresh water flowing out of fountains for people to drink out of, fill bottles with, and water plants. It is really cute when a local dog that is going for a stroll stops and gets a drink. It is very handy for everyone. Here are two I saw in Treviso - I especially like the watering cans/buckets that are being filled in one - just take it, water your plants, and return it for the next person.
Typical for the local cuisine is the famous radicchio rosso produced only in the region around Treviso.
The vegetable can be used for salads (the best period is during the winter), grilled as side dish and in risotto.
This type of radicchio rosso is different from the vegetable of the same name sold in stores around the world.
I've revisit Treviso this November 2006 and found city center decorated with lots of multicoloured plastic statues representing various animals. The red coloured huge dogs keep guard over couple of small squares, the bears, owls and other species stands in the balconies or watching from the windows, while the dolphins are swimming over passengers in the streets. The whole city center looks lovely now and not to mentioned that the kids are enthusiastic.
This is definetely an excellent idea, turning old abandoned chapel into the cafe-bar, which is now the most beautiful of a kind in whole of Treviso. The old sacral object have changed its previous assignment, but at the same time it has been preserved for the future times. The cafe-bar, which is situated next to Casa dei Carraresi, is very attractive and excellent place for relaxing after visiting museum.