Allerona: Within the walls of an Umbrian hilltown

    Elizabeth heath
    24 Oct 2017
    Clock 30min      Length1mi
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    The Presepe

    Pay wave

    Stop in front of the little courtyard on the right.

    Christmas is usually on the evening of the 26th, if weather permits. During this time, Allerona hosts a presepe, or living nativity village. The townspeople dress up in costume and many of these little courtyards and piazzas are staged to look like ancient Bethlehem. So imagine these streets and courtyards lit by torchlight, with costumed performers demonstrating traditional crafts, from winding yarn from raw wool to sharpening knives with a pedaled wheel to making polenta or mulled wine.
    Many of the cantinas are thrown open too, with vignettes ranging from a brothel to an olive mill to Herod's tent.

    Every year, a few thousand people from all over the region pay a few euros to come to see it. They enter at Porta del Sole, which is guarded by Roman centurions. They then follow a circuit through the village, which culminates at the manger. The same townspeople always play Mary, Joseph, Herod, his wife and the three kings. As far as I can tell, people guard their annual roles pretty viciously. So far I've only managed to play a merchant selling rugs and another year, a merchant selling sheepskins. I'm a little old to play Mary, but I think I'd make a fine Herod's wife.

    When you're ready, continue following the street as curves to the right and then to the left down a flight of stairs.