Anchiano’s Christmas Presepe Vivente (living crib) may not be the most spectacular one in our valley but it’s certainly one of the most charming. Anchiano itself is the perfect background to present this lovely Italian tradition. Set around a little hill to one side of the Via del Brennero its church is immediately recognizable, standing castle-like at the summit.
Indeed, the village has several castle-like features including this amazing Gothic arch in the centre if the village. A former castle entrance perhaps?
Deep in the hill are more recent reminders of fortifications. The Axis powers converted it into part of the Gothic line and dug deep tunnels within it. Here is the entrance to one of them.
Anchiano is also the place where our choir sings for the nativity scene in the church. We miss so much our many years’ participation in the beautiful presepe vivente at Equi Terme. Since 2013 it’s been closed as the bad earthquake that year has made the whole village unsafe. It’s so sad but, at least, I got the chance this year to participate in another living crib…
Not well publicised and not attracting very many people because of the weather’s uncertainty Anchiano has, nevertheless, many attractive features. Traditional craftsmen are particularly well represented.
There was a joyous band of singers accompanied by guitar and harmonica singing local Christmas folk songs.
The prisoner in the local jail was well-guarded.
The village school was still active with traditional learning and a register dating back to 1890:
Here is the old way of washing clothes – using ash!
All those present seemed very happy and focaccie and vin brulé abounded.
A local friend converted a side window of his house into a beautiful presepe:
I met up with my choir and we headed up the church up a steep cobbled path which, because of the rain has become rather slippery!
The church is very lovely and even has a little dome.
We started singing our repertoire which included that majestic piece from Saint-Saens’ Oratorio de Noel, “Tollite Hostias”, composed when he was just 22.
Behind where we sang was this delightful Della Robbia tabernacle:
and this lovely early fourteenth century Madonna and Child.
And then the Nativity arrived! The little baby needed a bit of adjustment.
But he was very good and didn’t scream at all throughout the display.
The three wise men included a member of the choir and Borgo di Mozzano’s very popular former mayor for ten years.
These events are things which truly touch one’s heart and make one feel so glad that one is living Christmas-time in Italy for these are traditions that surely will always live.
We wish all our readers a very happy Christmas season. May you be as glad as we were last night at Anchiano: