THE ITALIAN PRESEPE - Cultural Landscapes of the Soul
Santo Bambino, said to be carved from an olive tree found in the Garden of Gethsemane, is ornately dressed in gold and wears a cross both on his crown and necklace. On Christmas Eve the Santo Bambino is paraded to the Presepe Chapel where it remains until the Epiphany on January 6. At that time, the statue is taken to the top of the Aracoeli steps for a benediction to the city of Rome, and it is here that Romans come to give Santo Bambino the traditional Epiphany kiss. In the past the statue was believed to be truly miraculous and was brought to the houses of the sick. Stolen in 1994, the present Bambino is a 2002 copy.