Among the Nativity scenes that boast of the historic tradition of Rome, the one housed in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is splendid. It was made in 1858 by Luigi Ceccon with amazingly crafted statues. The Basilica, itself, is famous for the frescoes of Pinturicchio with stories of Saint Benedict and for the image of the holy child made of wood, one of the church’s most precious gems. The sculpture was carved in the 15th century in olive wood from the Garden of Gethsemane and covered with precious ‘ex-voto’ (offerings) as there is a popular belief it has miraculous power.
The statue was stolen in February of 1990 and replaces with an equally revered copy. Equally famous the magnificent 18th century Neapolitan nativity scene of great amplitude, persevered in the vestibule of the Basilica of Cosma and Damiano. Built in the 6th century by Pope Felix IV, in honour of the the two martyr doctors.
The nativity scene was donated to the church in 1939 by a citizen of Neapolitan Origin, Cataldo Perricelli. Some of the pieces were stolen in 1988, but in 1994 the work was resorted by Giulio Strauss and returned to be exhibited in all of its beautiful glory.
Prices and Information
Total cost: €195
Duration: 2 hours
Meeting point: Capitoline Hill (Piazza del Camidoglio) at the statue of Marcus Aurelius.
Starting time: 10.00am or 4pm
Maximum participants: 12
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