Vita Gazette

News from Italy

Manarola, largest illuminated nativity scene in the world

Vita gazette – Manarola, nestled in the enchanting setting of the Cinque Terre, illuminates its hill every year with the most extensive luminous nativity scene in the world.

On 8 December each year, the Manarola Nativity Scene, the most extensive luminous nativity scene in the world, is lit on the hills of Manarola. The torchlight procession and the lighting of the Nativity scene follow its inauguration. The nativity scene remains lit until January 14, 2024, and is one of the most visited Cinque Terre attractions during Christmas.

In the darkness of the evening, the 17 thousand bulbs that give it light reflect the contours of the 300 life-size figures that compose it in the waters surrounding Manarola. As in one of the most beautiful paintings ever made, the scenery offered by nature and human ingenuity merge to create an open-air work that leaves the viewer breathless. The colourful village houses and narrow paved alleys that climb up the peninsula are the backdrops to the project conceived and built year after year for over sixty years by Mario Andreoli. This brilliantly ingenious man undertook the construction of the nativity scene almost by chance in 1976.

From 1976 until 2022 Mario Andreoli, creator and builder of the nativity scene, assembled and positioned almost 300 characters including shepherds, sheep, farmers, angels, Three Kings and fishermen. All the figures are built with recycled materials, decorated with 15,000 light bulbs and 7 kilometres of electrical cables in 4,000 square meters of land sloping down to the sea.

After Mario’s death on 22 December 2022, the custom is renewed in his memory; every year, the illuminated nativity scene continues to overlook the hills of Manarola and illuminate the hearts of its visitors.

It is possible to admire the Nativity scene from different observation points, from the central square of Manarola, from via Rollandi or even from the Beccara path, which leads from Manarola to Riomaggiore with a spectacular view of Manarola and the entire coast.

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