Matera's one is probably the most famous living nativity in Basilicata, but there's more. Let's find out the best in the region.
When Christmas approaches, the living nativity in Basilicata becomes one of the flagships of a region that is a treasure chest of hidden gems yet to be discovered. Here, together with stunning natural scenery, good food and small villages that will amaze you with their beauty, the festive atmosphere becomes more alive and authentic than ever.
In Basilicata Matera, a UNESCO heritage site, is the best known and loved destination for travelers from all over the world, including artists and filmmakers, but the region has much more to offer. Let yourself be conquered by places apparently frozen in time, and by the locals, always proud population to give visitors a travel experience that can warm the heart, despite the cold winter.
Living nativity in Basilicata, the Sassi of Matera in the splendour fo Christmas
The white stone houses clinging to the hill, the terraces and courtyards that open into each other, the artisans' workshops where ancient knowledge is still handed down today. This is Matera, a city that looks like a huge, wonderful nativity scene every day of the year, and even more when the night falls and the whole city sparkles with a thousand little lights. Not surprisingly, on more than one occasion, it has been the scene of major film productions.
Almost every year, during the Christmas holidays, Matera becomes even more precious thanks to one of the most beautiful living nativity scenes in all of Italy. It is set up in the Sassi the heart of the anciet town, inside some of the historical buildings.
More recently the living crib of Matera has also experimented with new forms of expression. This year, for an instance, an actual theatrical performance is staged to tell the story of the birth of Christ.
The memory of the past in the living nativity in Basilicata
If you travel to Basilicata in December, you will come across another meaningful tradition somehow linked to the one of living nativity scenes. It's about the zampognari, the musicians who, dressed in traditional clothes, walk the streets playing archaic instruments similar to bagpipes. This is a tradition so deeply rooted in southern Italy that the zampognari can never miss in a crib, living or not. Sant'Angelo le Fratte, Tursi, Armento and so on. There are many villages where those Christmas customs are still alive.
And, speaking of living nativity in Basilicata, the one in Sant'Angelo di Avigliano is certainly worth seeing. Now in its fifth edition, with more than one hundred and fifty extras involved and forty scenes represented, it is an experience not to be missed. With its thousand sights, the stairways that climb along the side of the hill and the historic buildings, this lively village is able to live an indelible mark in the memory.
The same can be said for Filiano, a tiny village located in the Lucanian Apennines. It almost looks like it doeasn't want to be noticed, between his older sisters Potenza and Melfi, but Filiano also holds a treasure of enormous importance: some Mesolithic rock paintings. In December it also becomes the perfect set for one of the most beautiful Christmas themed historical re-enactments in the region.
You may find the same atmosphere in mani places in Basilicata. Pietrapertosa is an awsome, tiny village that looks like a crib in itself, but there are also Sant'Angelo le Fratte, Tursi, or Muro Lucano and Armento. There's so much to see here!
Alongside the Italy that the whole world knows, there exists, when one enters the extreme south, a second Italy, unknown, which is no less interesting than the other, nor inferior in beauty of landscapes and greatness of historical memories.
The living nativity in Pisticci, the Christmas magic is back in the white town
Surrounded by the lunar landscape of the gullies, overlooking the Ionian Sea, there is an enchanting village made up of poignant sunsets and white-painted houses. It is Pisticci, indeed called "the white town", a maze of picturesque streets that offer the possibility of taking beautiful walks even in winter.
Here at Christmas, among churches and ancient cellars, you can experience the thrill of a real leap in time. In fact, the living nativity of Pisticci is back, one of the most beautiful in southern Italy.
It's quite young, for a living nativity in Basilicata, but the locals devote themselves for months to its preparation, with true passion, to offer the visitors a truly unforgettable show.
On 6th January in Pisticci, on the occasion of the Epiphany is staged the adoration of the Magi as well.