THE ITALIAN PRESEPE - Cultural Landscapes of the Soul
Each year the Vatican erects a large presepio in Piazza San Pietro that is revealed with great excitement on Christmas Eve. In 2012 the Nativity was donated to the Vatican by Basilicata who commissioned the artist Francesco Artese to create a nativity scene inspired by the Sassi of Matera - an ancient rupestrian town in Basilicata. The exterior of the presepio is cloaked with imagery from the 9th century frescoes in the Crypt of Original Sin. The Crypt, located in a series of caves just outside Matera, is known as “The Sistine Chapel” of rupestrian wall painting.