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BASILICATA DONATES THE POPE A NATIVITY SCULPTURE

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This year’s Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, is to be donated to Pope Benedict XVI by one of the poorest regions of Italy, Basilicata, bringing the region’s stunning troglodyte cave area to world attention as part of their tourism strategy . Featuring ‘The Sassi’ of Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with hundreds of troglodyte cave dwellings, the life-sized crib scene has been recreated by Francesco Artese Grassano.

The atmosphere of the Nativity scene is that of the ancient civilisation of Luciana, the “civilisation of hands”, based on the work in the fields and ancient crafts, characterised by hard work and frugal living of a people strongly imbued with the spirit of sacrifice and religious sense. It is the representation of the world linked to the essential values of family, work, solidarity and an understanding of life that is open to Mystery.
The presentation of the Nativity focuses on the image of the Madonna showing and “offering” the baby Jesus to women who are approaching and the symbolic exchange as they entrust their children in a gesture of deep familiarity and shared destinies.

Basilicata is a region relatively unknown to British travellers, it is rich in its authenticity and preserved traditions, a place where spiritual quest, cultural dimensions and natural landscapes combine to create a unique atmosphere and an unforgettable experience. The new designer hotels now opening in the Sassi area offer travellers the unique opportunity to stay in an authentic cave dwelling, with every cave uniquely hand carved out of the rock over centuries.

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TEN GOOD REASONS TO VISIT BASILICATA, “ITALY’S SECRET GARDEN”

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There are numerous good reasons to take a trip to this largely untamed, undiscovered part of Southern Italy but we’ve pulled together ten - just in time for Christmas! Wander around [...]