... in Piobbico, (Le Marche) Italy!
The annual living nativity or presepe vivente in our little town of Piobbico was originally canceled because of horrible weather. But a week later on the 2nd of January we joined 200 other Piobbichese (local villagers) in costume to reenact Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. From newborn to ninety, we assume the roles of shepherds, carpenters, blacksmiths, innkeepers, weavers, wool carders and spinners, bakers, merchants, priests and other biblical figures from the gospel in the medieval village and picturesque Castle Brancaleon.
This year there were over 31 different scenes recreated in the old cantinas, doorways, in the squares and along the narrow streets of our village. Christmas is charming enough in these tiny Italian towns, but something magical happens we we come together as a community to tell the story of Jesus' birth - religious or not. In the winter night illuminated by the light of the fires and torches with the smell of roasting chestnuts, mulled wine & the serenade of the bag pipe, reality is lost and fades into a distant and unknown past.
We were so excited to participate this year!
We were told to go to Piazza San Antonio & there we would discover our role. As soon as we walked into the stall where we were stationed, a man I've never seen before popped out & said, "Ah yes, your bag is here. - Si, si - la coppia di ca'camone. " Our costume bag was properly labeled as the couple from ca'camone (the name of our house & how many know us here).
We slid into our outfits as paper makers & got into character!
I had one minor problem that could have gotten us 86'd from the whole thing...the rule of "respectful silence." I seem to have a problem keeping my mouth shut, meaning no disrespect, I wanted to chat with everyone that stopped by our stall. (To many of you this will come as no surprise.)
If I didn't blow our chances for next year by being too chatty, I've already got my eye on the prize role:
cast as bread makers with our grande amico Giancarlo - his cantina is always the place to be in Bethlehem where the wine is flowing & sausages grilling!
Speaking of food - this wouldn't be a proper Italian event without a modest dinner made for the participants. Over 200 of us piled into an old cantina in the castle for a pasta feast!
More photos of the presepe vivente on facebook