IN PHOTOS: Magical nativity scene lights up Italy’s Cinque Terre coast

IN PHOTOS: Magical nativity scene lights up Italy's Cinque Terre coast
The nativity scene overlooking Manarola, Cinque Terre, on December 14th. All photos: Marco Bertorello/AFP
One of the world's largest nativity scenes lights up the hilltop town of Manarola in Italy's famed Cinque Terre, joined this year by a statue honouring medics fighting the coronavirus crisis.
More than 150 figures depict shepherds and fishermen, sheep, camels and angels gathered around Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.
 
 
 
Lit up with eight kilometres of electricity cables, they are visible from the sea as well.
 
A new addition this year is a statue of a nurse with a heart next to it, a tribute to medical staff working to save lives throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
 
 
Watching the lights go on, local school teacher Elisabetta Colarusso said it was a welcome reminder of normal life.
 
“We need signs of hope and at least an appearance of normality,” she told AFP.
 
 
 
The area's nativity scene dates back to 1961, when local railway worker Mario Andreoli placed a cross onto the hill opposite the town to fulfil a wish by his dying father.
 
He had the idea of lighting it up with a car battery, and was delighted with the result.
 
He used iron bars and recycled materials to create many more figures over the years, each weighing up to 20kg.
 
At first, Andreoli, now 92, had to carry them up the steep hill himself, but now there's a whole team putting them up each Christmas.
 
All photos: Marco Bertorello/AFP

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