Christmas 2023, in Ossana the nativity scenes have reached (almost) 2000

Until January 7th the nativity scenes are spread throughout the town and in the Castle of San Michele. A special philatelic postmark dedicated to the initiative has been revealed

The 24th edition of the Village of 1000 nativity scenes, never so rich in number of works of art on display in the alleys and buildings of the historic center: almost 2 thousand. The inauguration was, then, the ideal opportunity to seal the official entry of the small town in Val di Sole into the club of the ‘most beautiful villages in Italy’ (which took place in 2022) with the delivery of the association flag from part of the president Fiorello Primi. A special appendix to the opening ceremony of the event which until 7 January 2024 will allow visitors, tens of thousands of whom are expected, to admire creations of high artistic and symbolic value created by artists and residents. Many local authorities were present at the inauguration, during which a specially created philatelic postmark was unveiled.

“Every single nativity scene tells a story, all together they tell the story of our village. We are proud to be able to show the public works that always manage to surprise, for their undoubted artistic quality but above all for the impact of the messages they transmit. These extraordinary creations are symbols of hope and brotherhood, as well as the touching attachment of the entire community to its traditions: it would be enough to see how much dedication and commitment the inhabitants put in to offer visitors the best possible show. They do it spontaneously, without asking for anything in return, driven solely by their unconditional affection for this village”, underlines the mayor of Ossana, Laura Marinelli.

“Succeeding in increasing the quantity and quality at the same time every year requires a considerable effort, which however no one conceives as such: probably, one of the secrets of the success of the event is precisely this. Records are just a sequence of numbers of little meaning if there are no valuable values ​​underlying them, which cannot be estimated. If attendance increases constantly, it means that the public has understood the spirit that characterizes the event and fully appreciates it”, adds the director of ApT Val di Sole Fabio Sacco.

The exhibition itinerary

As usual, the exhibition itinerary is delimited by a red thread and illuminated by ancient handcrafted lamps which will allow visitors, coming from all over Italy and also from abroad, to admire nativity scenes with different shapes, materials and themes. To celebrate the 800 years since the first representation of the Nativity Scene, which took place in 1223 in Greccio (Rieti) thanks to Saint Francis of Assisi, a terracotta work will be exhibited (sent from Sicily for the occasion) which recalls the historic re-enactment of the birth of Jesus. “It is an artefact perhaps not large in size but certainly in value”, underlines Luciano Dell’Eva, president of the Il Borgo Antico association which together with the Municipality of Ossana and in collaboration with the Company for the Turismo Val di Sole organizes the event.

Among the works on display, the evocative ‘Moving Nativity Scene’, the oldest on the route, built between the 50s and 60s by Domenico Bezzi using recycled materials, today followed and preserved by his son Carlo. Located next to the Church of San Vigilio, it depicts scenes of past life in the local community. And again: the Monte Giner nativity scene, created in 2016 to commemorate the air disaster of 22 December 1956 (that night a plane crashed into the slopes of Cima Giner, at almost 3 thousand meters above sea level, in the Val Perse area, in the municipality of Ossana) and set up at the ‘Mas dei Voltolini’; the nativity scene of the Great War, an extraordinary work among the most appreciated on the route: located inside the San Michele Castle, it was created on the occasion of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. There will also be space for the nativity scenes donated by the Bacchini family, originally from Verona but deeply linked to Val di Sole.

“We are pleased to be able to surpass the previous record of nativity scenes every time, as well as to note that the influx of visitors increases: it is an excellent way to ensure visibility for the village and generate a positive impact on the local related industries. Through these wonderful works of art we want to spread a climate of serenity, but above all a message of peace. There is a need for it, today more than ever,” explains Dell’Eva.

The Christmas market

Another element of undoubted attraction is represented by the Christmas Market, with two strategic locations: in the small square at the foot of the San Michele Castle and in Piazza Venezia. Among picturesque wooden houses and fascinating views, the public will have the opportunity to taste typical local desserts, aromatic mulled wine and at the same time enjoy traveling shows. It will be open in December from the 8th to the 10th, the 16th to the 17th and then continuously from the 23rd to the 6th of January 2024., always from 10am to 7pm. The little ones will be able to visit the House of Santa Claus (set up in Piazza Venezia) which, starting from 2 January, will be transformed into the house of the Befana: on that day a real ‘old woman’ will lower herself from the bell tower of the church of San Vigilio and enter in the village to reach the ‘colleagues’, giving the children a moment of pleasant amazement.

Furthermore, from this year it is possible to easily reach the historic center of Ossana thanks to the ‘Navetta dei Presepi’, set up for the occasion, departing from the middle school car park in Fucine and from the Cusiano Skibus stop. The arrival is near the town hall, a few steps from the comet which represents the starting point of the route. The service will be active on 8, 9, 16, 17 December and from Christmas Day until 6 January 2024, always in the afternoon, with departures every 20 minutes.