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An unforgettable Christmas in Assisi: Celebrating 800 years of the nativity scene amid magic and tradition


Tuesday 07 november 2023

Celebrate Christmas in Assisi, commemorating the 800th anniversary of St. Francis' first nativity scene. A unique experience of beauty, culture, and spirituality

An unforgettable Christmas in Assisi: Celebrating 800 years of the nativity scene amid magic and tradition

Ph. Elisa Bistocchi/flickr

Amid twinkling lights, Christmas music and the depths of history, Assisi is preparing to welcome winter with a special Christmas, commemorating and celebrating the 800th anniversary of the first nativity scene in history, created in 1223 by St. Francis in Greccio. From Dec. 1, 2023 to Jan. 7, 2024, the magical Umbrian city will offer a richly structured program of events, blending tradition, beauty, culture, nature, sociality and spirituality into one unforgettable experience.

Discovering Christmas in Assisi

Winter in Assisi has always stood out as a tradition within tradition. This year, which commemorates the 800th anniversary of the first nativity scene, will be no exception. There will be numerous celebratory events, including spectacular illuminations, Christmas markets, concerts, nativity scenes spread throughout the city and the wonderful Nativity made from Jesolo sand. Christmas in Assisi is shaping up to be an experience with a unique imprint to be lived in person, immersing oneself in the "Nativity House of Francis", with role-playing, exciting stories, evocative illuminations and creative workshops.

Presepe ad Assisi
Ph. MissCharlie/shutterstock

Lights and workshops, the magic of Christmas in Assisi

For more than a month, the city of Assisi will dive into a sea of light, an emblem of hope, with striking light apparatuses and light projections on churches, basilicas and historic monuments in the city center. Focused on environmental sustainability, these LED lights will be energy-efficient, reflecting Assisi's commitment to a green Christmas. In the beating heart of the city, beautifully crafted nativity scenes will be placed in picturesque corners, including a special nativity scene with Jesolo sand in front of the Lower Basilica of St. Francis, depicting the Holy Family with St. Francis and angels.

Piazza di Assisi, Foto di Fabiola Gentili
Piazza di Assisi - Ph. Fabiola Gentili

Celebrating the historical, cultural and spiritual connection

The celebration of Christmas in Assisi is promoted by the Municipality of Assisi, in collaboration with the Friars of the Sacred Convent and the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Portiuncula, the Diocese of Assisi and the town's cultural and associational environment. This strong and close-knit network works together to create a truly unique Christmas atmosphere and program of events that perfectly celebrates the 800th anniversary of the first nativity scene, revealing the historical, cultural and spiritual soul of Assisi.

The beauty of tradition, the promise of the environment

Christmas in Assisi is not only a cultural-historical event, but also a promise to the future of our environment. Large "Tree Trees" consisting of 80 fir trees each will replace traditional artificial trees. These trees, decorated with the help of children, will be lit with energy-efficient lights. At the end of the holidays, these trees will be planted as a symbol of Assisi's dedication to caring for the environment.

The city itself will be a stage for the celebrations, with the historic center decked out in festive decorations hosting various attractions such as the Christmas Train, Santa Claus marching band, craft and Christmas markets.

Albero di Natale ad Assisi, Foto di Fabiola Gentili
Ph. Fabiola Gentili

Celebrating the uniqueness of Christmas in Assisi

Assisi is not only the uniqueness of its history, but also the diversity of its traditions. There will be a series of living nativity scenes in the hamlets of the Assisi area (Armenzano, Petrignano and San Gregorio), for which a shuttle service will be provided. There will also be musical and cultural events, itineraries to discover the nature and monuments of the UNESCO heritage city, New Year's Eve in the Piazza, and numerous other events.

Overall, Christmas in Assisi 2023 offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in a celebration that combines history, tradition and spirituality. It harks back to the ancient history of the nativity scene and celebrates 800 years of nativity culture, while at the same time looking to the future with a strong focus on environmental sustainability.

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Travel proposals in this territory

from 177.00 €
Visit of Assisi with private tour guide, typical Umbrian lunch and guided quad excursion in the afternoon with aperitif in the woods included.
Interested villages: Assisi
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