Sassi di Matera and the living nativity scene, one of the most characteristic of Italy
The famous living nativity scene is back for another year, one of the most folkloristic in Italy: it takes place in a fascinating and beautiful setting which has been a UNESCO World heritage site since 1993.
Let us discover together the living nativity scene in the Sassi di Matera, an event that has become a must.
Matera’s rocks: about them
Before delving into the living nativity scene in the Sassi di Matera it is best to have a little recap on the history of the Sassi: in the 1950s the city of Matera was considered as a symbol for South of Italy’s lagging behind although recently the town redeemed itself obtaining non other than the title of European Capital of Culture 2019.
Matera has a little jewel within its territory, the so called sassi: they are two big blocks in the town center. They are dug in the rock and inside them unfolds an intricate maze of paths and caves, used for many centuries as actual homes by the people of Matera. There are more than just houses, in fact you can find also reservoirs, warehouses, churches, some with frescoes dating back to the sixth and Severn century after Christ. Matera’s stones as previously mentioned have been recognized as valuable artistic heritage and were named UNESCO World heritage site in 1993.
You can take a tour among the rocks of Matera: the Sasso Barisano, the Sasso caveoso which has the shape of a Roman amphitheater where you can find the typical cave houses, the Civita which is the rocky spur that divides the rocks, it is a true urban ecosystem where you can dive in to live a great experience between past and present.
The Sassi di Matera due to their incredible beauty have been often chosen as set for movies such as Pasolini’s “Il Vangelo secondo Matteo” and Mel Gibson’s “Passion”.
The living nativity scene in the Sassi
The living nativity scene is a very old Christian tradition that is about a theatre representation of Jesus’ birth, built on a stage that picks up the events of the nativity. The first living nativity scene was set up in the town of Greccio near Rieti in 1324, by St Francis of Assisi. In Matera the nativity scene takes place from 2010: the first time it was organized by the Unione Nazionale delle Pro loco d’Italia and saw the participation of more than 600 extras on a path of about 700 meters.
So after understanding the importance and the charm of the living nativity scene tradition in the sassi di Matera, here some info about the 2021 edition: the title of this year event is “Hope for the Future” which we so desperately need given the uncertain times. This will be the 11th edition of the Sassi living nativity scene organized by the association “Matera Convention boureau” an event that you cannot miss, that last year could not happen due to the pandemic.
The route of the nativity scene is a km long and will take place outdoors across 11 areas: we start from San Pietro Caveoso square to then continue along Vico Solitario, the Malve and Casalnuovo neighborhoods, to then finish off on Via Buozzi.
The event will be launched officially on December 7 and will go in until January 7 2022: a unique event in which will take part 80 actors and many cultural association from the south, with performances by professional actors from the area that will act the old Roman life and take up old jobs.
The living nativity scene in the Sassi will take place from the 7 to the 12 December, the 18 and 19, the 1 and 2 of January 2022 and the 6-9 January 2022; guided tours will be organized in the afternoon from 3.30 to 8.30 PM.
To take part in the event it will be necessary to have the Super green pass and you will have to abide to health and safety protocols; the price of the ticket is 10 euro for adults and 5 euros for who has concession, it is best to purchase them online.
If the living nativity scene has got you interested, then gift yourself a unique experience in Matera and plan your trip there whether you ate flying solo or with company
Cover Image: ilovematera