Caltagirone and the Christmas cribs

Visit Sicily

"Natale a Caltagirone” is an event that goes from 1st December to 6th January with the opportunity to admire a traditional exhibition of Christmas cribs in the town historic centre. The origins of Caltagirone are ancient, the town is famous around the world for its ceramic manufactures, cultural heritage and its rich architecture. 

The town is part of Unesco world heritage list since 2002. The exhibition of Christmas cribs is an old tradition since the 18 TH century, once was meant as a fun competition, every family of the town had to make a Christmas cribs to be shown in public and then a committee was in charge to choose the prettier and the most original. 

Since the 19th century the Christmas cribs are made in majolica and fashioned to represent scenes of rural life, but still easy to find more traditional Christmas cribs too. Some of them are exhibited all year long. During Christmas period the historic centre of Caltagirone show a live representation of the "nativity scene", enriched by the peculiar atmosphere given by the baroque architecture of the city. Caltagirone is also home of the the largest nativity scene in Italy, over 400 square meters of cribs in Sicilian style with over 300 characters in animated terracotta, mountains, water streams, houses. 

The pottery shops create animated characters in order to realize the "one of a kind" Christmas cribs with folk scenes, testifying the deep popular religious roots and craftsmanship culture, a little more ordinary than the sumptuous and luxurious context of Neapolitan Christmas cribs, but surely as much awaited. Caltagirone is famous around the world for its ceramic in polychrome majolica or in simple terracotta, in traditional or contemporary style.