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The Nativity Scene At The Vatican Is An Inspiring Site

The nativity scene at the Vatican celebrates Christmas with a display of 100 of the most amazing mangers from around the world in St. Peter’s Square.

Nativity Scene At The Vatican - Main Creche

The Main Square Presepe

The display in Rome of 100 Nativity scenes that celebrated the Christmas season and the birth of Jesus Christ began in 1976, and was held in Piazza del Popolo, but four years ago (in 2018) it was moved to Saint Peter’s square and is now organized by the Vatican in Rome.

With the fifth edition, the international crib art exhibition, 100 Cribs in the Vatican, is back, promoted by the Section for the Fundamental Questions of Evangelization in the world of the Dicastery for Evangelisation.

This 5th edition of the exhibition of 100 creches will start on Thursday December 8th, 2022 at 4:00 PM and it will be held under the left colonnade of Saint Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro) and it will remain open until the Epiphany on January 8th, 2023. It is open every day from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM and admission is free and without reservation.

Nativity Scene At The Vatican - Framed

This exhibition is a unification of nativity scenes provided by governmental organizations, artists, craftsmen and embassies from around the world, including: Taiwan, Malta, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Venezuela, Guatemala.

The Nativity Scene At The Vatican Settings

These nativity scenes use some poetic license for different interpretations in the settings in which these take place. Some are in Rome, some in rural Italy, some from the home countries of the donors. Some have a realist interpretation and others are a bit more abstract.

The Nativity Story From The Bible Set In The Ukraine

One of the more poignant and thought provoking interpretations of the story of Jesus’ birth that was set in modern day Ukraine amongst the war and wreckage that these suffering people are currently experiencing.

Nativity Scene At The Vatican - On A Bus

Nativity On A Bus

The Birth Of Jesus Christ In A Bus

One of the more abstract interpretations of the nativity story came from our friends at ATAC, which if you are unaware, is the city bus service in Rome. The creche is a bus, complete with a driver, and the birth happening in the back of the bus. The absurdity made me laugh and reminded me of the limited separation between church and state in Italy.

Why Is The Nativity Scene At The Vatican Important?

To be perfectly honest, I am neither capable or interested in diving too deep in the religious history and implications of the nativity scene in the Vatican. There are many other theologians that you should turn to instead. However, for a VERY quick history lesson:

Nativity Scene At The Vatican - Different Materials

How The Creche Was Born

St. Francis of Assisi wanted the beauty and grace of Christmas to be enjoyed in a visible form. A form that would help everyone to rejoice in the humility with which Jesus annulled all distance and invited us to welcome him with confidential affection. St. Francis was inspired by the wooden tables of Jesus’ manger that he saw in the crypt of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome where they are still preserved today.

In Christian homes, during the Advent season, the nativity scene is assembled, according to the tradition that dates back to St. Francis of Assisi. In its simplicity, the nativity scene conveys hope; each of the characters is immersed in this atmosphere of hope.

The Nativity Scene At The Vatican Is The Center Of St. Peter’s Square

In addition to the 100 nativity scenes on display under the left colonnade, there is the main nativity scene in the center of Saint Peter’s Square. This display changes every year and it is a great honor to be selected for the prestigious location.

Nativity Scene At The Vatican - In All Sizes

The almost 100-foot (30m) white fir tree comes from the village of Rosello of the province of Chieti in the Abruzzo region of central Italy, near the border with Molise and on the slope of a cliff overlooking the entire Valley of the River Sangro.

The manger scene (presepe or creche) selected for 2022 is entirely made of hand-carved wood. It is a gift from the town of Sutrio, a comune in the Province of Udine in the Italian region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, located about 75 miles (120 km) northwest of Trieste. The themes of this nativity scene include: 

  • Sustainability of Earth’s Natural Resources
  • Showing Solidarity With Others
  • Stressing The Importance of Family

How To Reach The 100 Nativity Scenes At The Vatican 

If you want to reach the Vatican by bus, you can: 

  • Use the bus lines: #23#34#40#982 or N10. Take the bus to the Traspontina/Conciliazione stop and walk from via Traspontina to Via della Conciliazione.
  • Use bus Lines: #23, #34, #40, #46, #62, #64, #98, #115, #280, #870, #881, #916, #916F, #982, N5, N11, N15 or the N20 until the Lgt. Sassia/S. Spirito (Hospital) stop. Walk from Lgt. Sassia towards Castel Sant’Angelo, turn left into via San Pio X and turn left again into via della Conciliazione.
Nativity Scene At The Vatican - Angel Gabriel

The Angel Gabriel

If you want to reach the Vatican by subway (Metro), you can:

  • Take the Metro A line to the Ottaviano/San Pietro stop. The walk on via Ottaviano in the direction of Saint Peter’s Basilica.

If you want to take the train, you should:

  • Take the train to ROMA TERMINI station. At Termini Station transfer to the Ferrovie Metropolitane FR3 or FR5 trains. Get off the train at ROMA S. PIETRO station and continue on foot towards Piazza S. Pietro, Via della Conciliazione.
nativity scene at the vatican - rescue

Rescue Vehicle Nativity Scene

More Christmas And Vatican Related Information

If you enjoyed this post about the Nativity scene at the Vatican and you are interested in more Christmas and Vatican related articles, you should check these out as well:

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