Thursday, December 12, 2013

Nativity scenes in Vira

The town of Vira with the Church of San Pietro rises impressively above Lake Locarno. The heart of the village, still nearly all intact, is typically Ticinese, with its old houses leaning against one another, its alleys, bottlenecks and porches. On the facades of the houses there are some "frescoes" that were painted in 1970 in occasion of the "Fresco School".

During the Christmas period, Vira is transformed into a winter wonderland of nativity scenes. "Il Presepe a Vira Gambarogno" consists of around thirty nativity scenes, exposed in the little streets of the town.

You'll find reconstructions of the Holy Night in all shapes and sizes, some with traditional features, with the characters placed in a setting re-created with the help of moss, stone, wood and water, while others are more unusual. For example, they have had nativity scenes that were crocheted, made with bottles or yoghurt pots, and from steel wire and chairs.

The first time it took place was 23 years ago, on the initiative of a group of local enthusiasts who wanted to enliven the village at a time of the year that traditionally was quiet and lacking in events. In a sense they were pioneers, as this was the first event of its kind in Ticino. Immediately the local schools became involved in creating the nativity scenes, and in no time at all this special way of anticipating Christmas was met with a great deal of enthusiasm.

The opening day (starting at 15.00) is particularly cheerful with the market in the square, a band playing bagpipes and various local associations offering food delicacies. Traditional Christmas music, chestnuts and mulled wine, together with the lighting, make the atmosphere extremely cosy and warm.

Venue: Il Presepe a Vira
Where: 6574 Vira
When: From 15.12.2013 until 06.01.2014
Click here for detailed programme

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