The first 42 editions of the international exhibition “100 Nativity scenes” in Rome were held in the Sala del Bramante near Piazza del Popolo. This year, however, the exhibition takes place for the second time in the Sala San Pio X in Via della Conciliazione.
100 Nativity Scenes Exhibition Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Sala San Pio X – Via della Conciliazione, 5 – Rome. Telephone: +39 06 69869500. Opening hours: From 7 December 2019 to 12 January 2020, from 10:00 to 20:00. On 24 and 31 December, the exhibition closes at 17:00. Access is allowed until one hour before closing time.
As the Via della Conciliazione is close to the Vatican, the exhibition has been given the official title of “100 Presepi in Vaticano”. In reality, there are many more than 100 cribs on display, but the title of the first editions has been retained.
There are nativity scenes from almost every region of the country. In addition, works from 25 other countries can be seen. There are presepi made by artists and craftsmen, but also less ambitious projects by schools and hobbyists. A number of works are on loan from Italian and foreign museums.
There is also a wide variety of materials used. Of course, traditional materials such as wood, wrought iron, bronze, ceramics, porcelain, clay, papier-mâché and glass have been used in many works. Several stalls, however, are made of recycled food, including chocolate, bread and pasta, and objects such as shells, buttons and even pencils.
Some figures are human sized, while others are miniatures.
One can admire 17th and 18th century Neapolitan and Sicilian as well as 19th century Roman cribs. There are also a number of brightly coloured futuristic specimens on display, which are made of car parts or television sets.
The oldest cribs and figures on display are on loan from museums and private collections.
In Italy, nativity scenes from regions such as Campania, Sicily, Lazio, Liguria and Apulia are particularly famous. Especially Naples is known for the quality, and especially the originality, of the presepi. One of the nicest streets in the centre of this beautiful city is the Via Gregorio Armeno. Almost all shops in this street are dedicated to selling and manufacturing Christmas figures and stalls.