Caritas Athens

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Natale: the favorite time of the year for the Italians, which is closely linked to the scenes from the Divine Birth, in every town and village in the country.
However, a small mountainous picturesque village, Ossana, in the Val di Sole, in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige, in northern Italy, also known as the “Ossana, il borgo dei 1000 presepi” has reached a world record as their number exceeds that of its permanent residents (852)!
The Christmas atmosphere is not lacking in the 365 days of the year. The inhabitants are living and working to prepare for the annual representation of the Birth (presepe in Italian), which takes place from 30 November to 6 January: they build buildings, sew or repair clothes and make figures and animals for their tents.
Their number (890) increased last year thanks to the donation of a 760-mangers private collection belonging to a resident of the Veneto region, who loved the village very much and expected its development.
Hundreds of representations are broken down numerically in the streets and the most impressive village houses, such as the Casa degli Affreschi, the Castello di San Michele and the church of San Vigilio. The path from the 12th century Castle to the center of Ossana is illuminated by old oil lamps. The courtyards of the houses are filled with light and music, creating an atmosphere that remains engraved forever in the memory of the visitors!
This year, on their festive walk, along the path of nearly 1000 representations of Birth, they can admire galleries of great artists that took many months of preparation. The most representative is the one dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, recalling the Great War and an incident of “special peace” in the trenches, on Christmas Eve. This representation is an urge against all wars, so that such a tragedy never happens again!
Each manger stands out for its different character. One of the most impressive ones is the one that is exhibited in a historic home and was presented for the first time two years ago, on the 60th anniversary (22 December 1956) of the air tragedy at Mount Giner, at a height of 2600 meters. Also, the manger in the “House of Frescoes”, which was built 400 years ago, at the spectacular ruins of the local castle. The representation with Virgin Mary, Joseph and Jesus at a typical dolomite farm, and more those Nativity Scenes with the vibrant colors of South America, where the mother of God is dressed in traditional garments of every place, attract the admiration of the visitors.
The village of Ossana, 40 km from Trento, the capital of Trentino, near the popular tourist destination of Madonna di Campiglio, hosts two Christmas markets (Mercatini di Natale), at the main square and at the Castello di San Michele.
Tourists can taste the delicacies of the region and buy local products and decorative items that highlight craftsmen’s craftsmanship, keeping this beloved tradition alive. Hand-crafted exhibits have produced by artists, volunteers, members of environmental organizations and students from the wider Val di Sole valley, from unusual materials such as maize leaves, cloths or seeds.