The Nativity Scene, which will be set up in Saint Peter’s Square for Christmas 2019, comes from Scurelle, the municipality of Valsugana in the province of Trento. Instead, the imposing spruce, some 26 meters high, with a diameter of 70 centimeters, which will be erected next to the Nativity Scene, comes from the Highlands of Asiago. The Rotzo-Pedescala and San Pietro Consortium of Civic Uses, in the province of Vicenza, donated the spruce along with some 20 smaller trees. The tree and the Nativity Scene are linked by the common memory of the storm of October-November 2018, which devastated many areas of Triveneto. This year, in addition, the Pare di Conegliano Artistic Crib Group, in the province of Treviso, will be in charge of setting up the Nativity Scene inside Paul VI Hall.
The traditional inauguration of the Nativity Scene and the lighting of the Christmas tree in Saint Peter’s Square will be held on Thursday, December 5 at 4:30 pm. The ceremony will be presided over by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, and by Bishop Fernando Vergez Alzaga, President and Secretary-General, respectively, of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
The Nativity Scene is made almost entirely of wood. It is made up of two characteristic architectural elements of the Trento tradition. They are two structures in wood worked with raw boards. It is the so-called system of coverage “alla trentina,” made with a shingle roof (the shingle roof is a very old construction system used to make covers with split boards and flat wood chips).
Lodging in the two structures are 20/25 personages of natural dimension (height of the statues is about 1.80 meters) in polychrome wood. The Holy Family is placed in the largest structure. Around the central scene, other personages find space: the Wise Kings, shepherds, animals, objects and plants. Placed in particular in the background of the scene, in remembrance of the October-November 2018 storm, are wood logs from areas hit by the storms.
The spruce used for the Christmas tree comes from forests of which the territory of the municipality of Rotzo and the fractions of Pedescala and San Pietro is rich. The wooded area, in fact, extends over a surface of over 1,880 hectares in which the majority of the species, such as the spruce, the silver fir, the larch, in addition to beech specimens, extend but more sporadically. To replace the uprooted plants, 40 fir trees will be replanted to reintegrate the forests gravely damaged by the 2018 storm. The decoration and lighting of the tree will be done by the Governorate’s Infrastructure and Services Department in collaboration with Osram S.p.A. and Osram gmbh, which offers a decorative lighting system with high color rendering, of the latest generation, geared to limit the environmental impact and the energy consumption.
The Nativity Scene of Conegliano, instead, recalls directly as its setting the ancient barn stables of Lessinia (land used and prepared for the pastures”), a geographic areas of the Venetian Pre-Alps
The structure recalls the pointed arch constructions: a geometric construction, of gothic inspiration, consisting of two joint arches with bricks, “ashlars,” arranged radially making use of the friction between them. Present to enrich the work will be a capital (arch), which represents the famous work the “Madonna con Bambino” of Cima da Conegliano, an important Renaissance painter. The figures that will be inserted in the Nativity Scene will be about 125 centimeters high and wear clothes of the Venetian tradition.
On the morning of December 5, Pope Francis will receive the delegation of Scurelle, of the Rotzo-Pedescala and San Pietro Civic Uses Consortium and of the Pare di Conegliano Artistic Crib Group for the official presentation of gifts.
The tree and Nativity Scene will remain displayed until the end of the Christmas Season, which coincides with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Sunday, January 12, 2020.