Christmastime every year sees a flurry of activity in Varese as residents turn their town into a setting for presepi – Nativity scenes – of all shapes and sizes.
Anyone can take part in the competition – DIY enthusiasts, lovers of Nativity scenes, local schools – and there are three categories of competitor: model-makers, school classes or individual school pupils, and schools. The Nativities are made with all kinds of material – metal, wood, copper, paper – and with a wide variety of personal interpretations ranging from the traditional to the contemporary.
Prizes are awarded to the first, second and third in each category. Schools win money, school classes and individuals are awarded a variety of prizes such a Swarovsky figurine, dinner in a local restaurant, or a basket of local gastronomic specialities.
The competition, supported by Varese Town Council and run by the Friends of the Nativity Scene and Leisure Time Association, attracts growing numbers of participants and visitors every year, keeping alive the traditional Christmas spirit.