During these special days, the residents of Monteleone transform their town, consisting primarily of one main thoroughfare and a road that circles the town, into a grandiose replica of Bethlehem.
Upon entering the iron-doored archway to the town, which always remains open now that the troops of Florence are no longer storming the walls as they did in the 1600’s, visitors enter a buzzing historical reconstruction of Bethlehem during the days of Jesus Christ’s birth.
Stores, homes, and palazzi along the town’s main thoroughfare are transformed into various scenes from the birthplace: inns, local artisans such as butchers, blacksmiths, potters, and craftmakers; a synagogue; roman soldiers standing guard and sheep posts; and of course, the nativity scene itself. Visitors are also invited to enjoy local wine and food as they stroll through the unique spectacle.
Residents of Monteleone are dressed in elaborate costumes, hand-tailored by the women of the area after careful historical research and design. The weapons and military clothing are also true works of art handicraft. No detail goes unnoticed.
-- Kaylee Higginbotham, Chow & Ciao
Also see another Dream of Italy article on Christmas in Umbria
Photos by Luca Scutigliani