Nine festive ‘Living Nativity Scenes’ performances to take place in Matera

Matera, Italy – The annual ‘Living Nativity Scenes’ Festival in the rock-cut Sassi districts of Matera has returned this year with even more grandeur and novelty. The festival, which showcases a dozen caves illuminated from below in the Murgia plateau of the Park of the Rupestrian Churches, opened on December 8 and will run until January 6, 2024.

At a press conference held on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, the Director of the Matera Convention Bureau, Luca Prisco, along with Mayor Domenico Bernardi and Park Agency President Giovanni Mianulli, unveiled the newest addition to the festival – soft lighting powered by the sun. This environmentally friendly lighting system was made possible through the approval of the Basilicata regional government’s Environmental Incidence Assessment (VINCA).

The highlight of the festival was the December 9 performance, which coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera being included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. The evening also featured a special ceremony to celebrate the twinning of Matera with Greccio, a town in the province of Rieti known for its tradition of staging nativity scenes, which was started by Saint Francis of Assisi 800 years ago.

A unique ‘videomapping’ show in Piazza San Pietro Caveoso recreated the historic meeting between Saint Francis of Assisi and Pope Honorius III. The Living Nativity Scene, directed by renowned theatre director Giampiero Francese, spanned over a four-kilometer route through the city center, Sasso Barisano, and Sasso Caveoso. It featured a cast of 200 professional actors, extras, and members of theatre companies from various regions.

The festival has attracted a large number of visitors, with 400 bus-loads of tourists already booked to experience the magic of the ‘Living Nativity Scenes’ Festival. For more information, please contact Serafino Paternoster, Head of the Press office at APT Basilicata, at +3384299742.

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