It is that time of the year again! Italy has just celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December, a national holiday when families traditionally put up their Christmas tree and Nativity Scenes. Things were no different at Mario Andreoli’s place, except for the fact that he is the creator of one of the most amazing crèches on Earth!
Mario is a retired railroad worker who lives in Manarola, Cinque Terre. In 1961, his father asked him to re-create an ancient pilgrim’s cross that used to stand in the middle of the family’s vineyard. Slowly, Christmas after Christmas, Mario enriched the vineyard with new handmade figures and characters. Today, the nativity scene has more than 250 characters scattered all over a terraced hill overlooking Manarola, and has entered the Guinness World Record as the world’s largest nativity scene.
Manarola’s Nativity Crèche is a handmade work of art made with recycled materials and featuring 15.000 lights powered by a photovoltaic system in the spirit of sustainability of the Cinque Terre National Park, where Manarola is located.
Mr Andreoli is 89 years old, yet he still participates in the preparation of the Presepe di Manarola, and he is in charge of lighting up the installation on the 8 December. Here is the video of this year’s inauguration with fireworks and music!