“Recovering the Slow Memory of the Past”
Presepe Viventi (Living Nativities) are theatrical pageants reenacting the nativity story. Viventi are the most direct legacy of St. Francis’ nativity mass at Greccio. Many attract thousands of visitors and have hundreds of performers. Performers, called figuranti, are normally volunteers, dressed in costumes appropriate to the vivente’s chosen theme. Some living nativities stage the story in Palestine at the time of Jesus, while others place the Nativity in medieval Italy. Still others set the scene in the town’s preindustrial rural past.