Tour of living cribs in Calabria

Journey through Calabrian nativity scenes
CZ-GASPERINA 24 PRESEPE VIVENTE

© Regione Calabria

Tradition and folklore

The Calabrian nativity tradition boasts ancient origins and still enchants young and old alike with the beauty of the handcrafted nativity scenes and the fascination of the living cribs, which are increasingly enthralling and full of events within the event.

From the north to the south of Calabria, the living cribs enliven the Christmas festivities with events that last until the Epiphany (6 January), offering visitors the magic of the authentic Nativity and the pleasure of finding craft demonstrations, tastings of typical products and live Christmas music inside.

The crib tradition in Calabria

While it used to be traditional to make the crib in Calabria on Immaculate Conception Day (8 December), nowadays people start setting up scenery and shepherds from the last days of November. That is why in several towns in Calabria, it is already possible to admire Christmas decorations and nativity scenes.

The tradition of the Calabrian handcrafted nativity scene, with typical settings and regional crafts, has been joined in recent years by the equally fascinating tradition of living cribs.

The most famous of the living cribs in Calabria is undoubtedly that of Panettieri, in the province of Cosenza. The Living Crib of Panettieri is now a true theatre performance, complete with dramaturgy and direction, and an integral part of the region's historical events.

Regione Calabria

Immersing oneself in the timeless atmosphere of the living crib is a magical experience that enchants young and old alike and offers an original and interactive way of visiting the host locations.

Lovers of traditional Calabrian cribs, on the other hand, can visit some of the most beautiful installations at the Nativity Museum in Reggio Calabria and the Mechanical Museum of Moving Shepherds in Tropea, in the province of Vibo Valentia.

Where to see living cribs in Calabria

Almost all located in perched villages and hamlets that resemble real natural nativity scenes in themselves, set in the hinterland, the living cribs in Calabria are among the unmissable events of the Christmas season.

Among the most famous living cribs in the province of Cosenza, in addition to the aforementioned Panettieri crib, the one in Acri, set up in Contrada Guglielmo with a route that faithfully reproduces the daily life of Bethlehem at the time, and the one in Rocca Imperiale, where a visit to the living crib that takes place in the streets of a village lit up like a real Nativity, is also an opportunity to promote the prized Rocca Imperiale PGI Lemons.

In the province of Catanzaro, the Living Crib of Pentone, a small town in the Presilan area that opens its historical centre to dozens of figurants and artisans who live to demonstrate their art, and the award-winning Living Crib of Gasperina, overlooking the enchanting panorama of the Gulf of Squillace.

The Living Crib of Strongoli, on the other hand, is a worthy representative of Christmas in the province of Crotone, with an evocative setting inside the Strongoli Castle, a perfect location after the recent restoration that returned it to the public.

Presepe Vivente Strongoli
Regione Calabria

In the province of Vibo Valentia and Reggio Calabria we respectively recommend the living cribs of Nicotera, a splendid mediaeval village overlooking the Costa degli Dei, and the living cribs of Stilo, "City of Tommaso Campanella" among The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy, which sets up its living crib around the jewel of Calabrian Byzantine architecture, the Cattolica of Stilo.

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Ultimo aggiornamento: Feb 14, 2024 2:24 PM