Custonaci – The live Crib

A journey of 2,000 years in time

The Nativity of Custonaci is considered to be the most important promotional event for crafts and popular traditions of Sicily, inscribed for this reason, since 2006, in the Register of Intangible Heritage, between 100 intangible assets of the Sicilian Region.

The event, organized by the ‘cultural association “Living Museum” Custonaci, the 30th edition, is known throughout Italy thanks to the extraordinary suggestiveness of images, as well as originality, poise and pathos to the interpretation of the characters, and the emotions that manages to arouse.

It is a place and an event of great interest: since its inception, more than 400 thousand visitors who attended. Also, do not pass edition without the Nativity is not the object of the attentions of the most important national media, both television (RAI, Mediaset, etc..) That of the printed paper.

The “show” takes place at the village Scurati, a reality of rural homes scattered, as in a crib, behind a backdrop of natural caves that open onto high rock walls. Among these stands out the Mangiapane Cave: exciting and spectacular space dating back to the Palaeolithic period, the cave is a real rarity, with an opening very high, about 80 meters deep and 70, the walls of which are set against its ongoing intact over time, the lovely small houses, stables and a bread oven, built by a family of shepherds between 800 and half of 900. Behind the village, the suggestions of the Gulf of Erice, nestled between Lace Bonnet and Pizzolungo

In this magical location, every year, for nearly 30 years, an entire local community and the latest artist-craftsmen Sicilian scene to come together to give a “show unique and unrepeatable” for 7 or 8 days, visitors spectators cross- places set up to seventy between assets / scenes of life in close contact with more than 150 characters, which faithfully reproduce the performance of ancient crafts and scenes / places are increasingly rare.

“I do not pretend to produce, no, it really produces vases, wicker chairs, twisted iron, cheese, olive oil squeezed from the mill stone …” (Panorama, 2002).

The event itself is then a mode of highly innovative management of cultural heritage 2:

• the prehistoric cave Mangiapane that without the Living Nativity, would never have been enhanced;

• the cultural heritage of ancient crafts and traditions of Sicily, which thanks to the Nativity becomes “usable” in a form entirely new alternative compared to static cold and ethno-anthropological museums.

The peculiar aspect of the event, or the fidelity of the scenes with rich tradition of craftsmanship and agriculture – local ministry, is the result of meticulous study and research: to recreate environments, crafts and costumes was in fact involved the University of Palermo, via the ‘Institute of Anthropological and Geographical Sciences, museological service, the Faculty of Humanities. Thanks to this preliminary work it was possible to follow faithfully the reality of the time, no false representations, allowing you to relive and to keep the local tradition, year after year. In less than thirty years of performances, there were over 400 thousand visitors – viewers of the Nativity of Custonaci, with peak annual sometimes more than 20 thousand visitors.

Official website

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