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The crib in the Basilica of Santo Spirito
December 18, 2023

The most beautiful nativity scenes in Florence

From the one on the cathedral forecourt to the historical one in the Basilica of Santo Spirito: here are the ones to visit

On the parvis of the Florence Cathedral until Epiphany, the large nativity scene with life-size terracotta statues can be seen. These are unique terracotta pieces handmade by the artisan Luigi Mariani of the Impruneta Mital kiln and donated to the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore. A second nativity scene is also set up inside the cathedral.

The crib on the parvis of Florence Cathedral where it will remain until Epiphany

This year we find no less than 15 nativity scenes in the church of Santa Croce. An exhibition created at the end of the celebrations for the eighth centenary of the first crib, set up in Greccio by Francis of Assisi in 1223 and promoted by the Franciscan Community, the Opera di Santa Croce and the Associazione Italiana Amici del Presepio.The exhibition of cribs remains open until 6 January, and entrance is free for visitors who are residents of Florence.

As per tradition, also this year at the entrance to the Basilica of Santo Spirito, the Santo Spirito Crib has been set up, the work of Maestro Albino Todeschini. Access to the Basilica is free of charge, but during liturgical celebrations, tourist visits are not permitted.

Presepe Albino Todeschini

The Historical Crib at Villa La Quiete, a Christmas display that enhances the guided tours of the monumental complex on the hill of Castello, a witness to Medici history and managed by the Museum System of the Florentine Athenaeum, is back. It can be visited with guided tours on Sundays at 10.30 and 11.30 a.m. (Via di Boldrone 2, Florence), on 24, 31 December and 7 January (booking required at 055-2756444
The nativity scene at Villa La Quiete represents an important artistic testimony to the sculptural activity of Tuscan artisans in the first half of the 18th century, who drew inspiration from Neapolitan nativity scenes.Other nativity scenes traditionally realised during the Christmas festivities in the churches of Florence include:

The Certaldo nativity scene: this nativity scene has been made for many years with large and valuable wooden and ceramic statues, about one metre high, handmade as unique pieces by master craftsmen from various parts of Italy, mainly from Val Gardena. Started off with only the core of the Nativity, each edition is enriched with new characters and sees changes in the scenic effects, specially created on an area of over 60 square metres, cleverly illuminated with a play of light and music that lasts a few minutes. Also new this year is the travelling Nativity scene organised by the Istituto Maria SS. Bambina and the Propositura di San Tommaso.

And again La Via dei Presepi di Cerreto Guidi. The event La Via dei Presepi di Cerreto Guidi, now in its 12th edition, will be held until 14 January 2024.
The event, which has the patronage of the Region of Tuscany and is centred on the exhibition of a large number of cribs, of various types, shapes and sizes, made of the most varied materials, is enriched by a rich programme of appointments and parallel events, which will take place, in particular, in the historical centre of the town.

Lastly, we would like to point out the mechanised artistic nativity scene of the Bassi all'Isolotto set up in the parish of the same name.With more than 60 moving characters and a narrating voice, it recounts various episodes linked to the birth of Jesus.

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