The magic of Christmas is most special in the Cinque Terre! From 8 December 2019 until the end of January 2020, an entire hill of the Poets’ Bay, that of the Three Crosses, will be populated by 300 life-size figures, arranged to represent one of the most beloved scenes in history: the Nativity of Jesus .
A world-record nativity
In 2007, Manarola entered the Guinness World Record for a very special record: in this village every year the largest Nativity in the world is made. The creator of the grandiose work of lights and harmonies is Mario Andreoli, a former railway employee who started working on the project back in 1961, illuminating a small cross on the top of the family hill with a car battery: this was the first piece of a work that has become the symbol of an entire community. The then very young artist began with iron, plastic and recycled materials: he assembled them together, completed them with tiny candles and made them a character. After the initial manger complete with ox and donkey, Mr. Mario added a new figure every year, with flexible and fantasy strokes: shepherds, shopkeepers, sheep, laundresses. The end result is a crib that stretches across the hill, built with 8 kilometers of cables and illuminated by 17,000 lights, which remains lit for about two months a year. Since it overlooks the landscape from above, you can admire it from anywhere in the bay. But the most evocative place is the 320th step of the Manarola-Riomaggiore path: if you decide to climb up to there, perhaps with a torch and a bottle of Sciacchetrà, you will see an incredible panorama.
The citizens of Manarola actively participate in the preservation of the planet … especially during Christmas! All the characters of the largest Nativity in the world are in fact built with recycled materials; moreover, to light up this gigantic work with clean energy, a photovoltaic system has been built that limits consumption and helps the environment.
On your wishlist this year, add a weekend to the Cinque Terre, where Christmas lights up for you.