Tale of a dream

Home Su


Let's take a look together at the memories album...

We coulda have start this section by a romantic "Once upon a time...", as the best fairy tales tradition teaches: probably a similar introduction wouldn't have been out of place, because what we're goin' to expose looks almost like a strange kind of a legend. Anyway, we must always reach just the facts, particularly when one must try to tell the genesis of a dream that's soon gone over the thin fantasy borders.
But let's start it all from the beginnig...


It was a cold and rainy november evening in the late 1987, when a group of absolute "dreamers"..it was a cold and rainy november evening.. (between 'em there were ENZO CUNTI, ENZO MAIELLO and ANTONIO ZINGARO) was talking about various arguments in the main avenue of the town. Suddenly, the conversation entered about the forthcoming Christmas time and we started to consider that it woulda have been, as usual, sad and boring for our little town. With the purpose to make something different for our town, ENZO CUNTI gave the input to build in Piazza S.Stefano (near the omonimous Church) a little Cave made with wood, to put inside it the living characters of S.Giuseppe, the Madonna and the Baby Jesus: in one word, a Holy Nativity representation. Since this looked immediately a great "program" to work at, an unusual enthusiasm came by between us: now, the fantasy machine had started to run and soon it woulda have generated the wonderful show that actually everybody knows!!
In fact, after this little starting proposal, we kept on goin' on talking about the beauty of the most famous "Presepe Vivente" (the Living Holy Nativity representations) in Italy, but more we were considering how it coulda have been beautiful to have in Baia e Latina a typycal ambience to made up, as better possible, a little (!!) Presepe Vivente in our town too. In that exact moment, Mr. NICOLA BURRELLI (R.I.P.) Nicola Burrellicame by and had part in the discussion. After he heard the speech for a while, he suddenly argued "..but why do you guys think we need to go to find a place to make a nice representation like that? We already got it!" and he pointed his open hand up, in the direction of the old medieval Borgo of the town. First, nobody understood his extraordinary intuition but we decided anyway to have a walk immediately all together "climbing" up to the tight passages and the wet stone steps of the Medieval Borgo and...wow!, NICOLA was absolutely right! Beyond the rainy weather and darkness, there was really something magic flyin' between those house skeletons ruined from time, in the penetrating scent of musk on the walls, in the unreal silence that surrounded everything making the whole ambience sometime enchantressy and fascinating, and sometime dark and mysterious... Yes, maybe there came the time to let the Medieval Borgo re-born (..at least, once a year..) after it has been abandoned to its destiny (unlucky..) for too many years from men and time: it was just born the "Presepe Vivente di Baia e Latina"...

The 1st Edition of the manifestation (december 24 and 25, 1988) was planned on a little tour a few hundred metres long (no more than a quarter of the actual ride...!) and we faced up the first logical technical troubles1st Edition of the Presepe Vivente: a rare picture of "Maria and Giuseppe" - Ph. © ANTONIO ZINGARO 1989 that we climbed thanks to the excitement of the beginners; anyway we registered an incredible emotional participation of the people that came by, as well the arrivings were circumscribed only at the resident folks and the local immigrants, that both liked and encouraged the spirit of the exhibition.

After this, the talks about the original show offered by the Presepe Vivente representation in Baia e Latina, started soon to make proselytes and the 2nd Edition (december 24 and 25, 1989) marked a massive increase of visitors coming from all the towns and the cities around. As well, the press begins to be interested to the manifestation, writing important reports on local and national tabloids. The representation itself, after the first beginning steps, starts to take the artistical style that would distinguish it from the other ones alike, also due to the staff's maniacal and intelligent details care, starting from the wise scenes lighting (achieved turning off manually one by one the town enlightening and using only torches and candles placed on the tour way...) 'til the selection of the characters costumes (rent from specialised theatrical costumes taylor's shops or handly manufactured from the able hands of our hometown artisans...).

Anyway, after almost 5 years of forced stop due to various problems, the show reaches its best quality standards by the 3rd Edition of the Presepe Vivente (december 24, 1995 and january 5, 1996): the exhibition is published with particular care on various local and national daily journals and the result is a huge arriving of people coming from wherever... The event also gives the chance to extend more the ride, reaching the remarkable length of almost three quarters than the actual one (a few less than one chilometre - over 4.000 ft.!!); more, we put a particular attention in highlighting as much possible our local artisans work and our typical food and products peculiarity; in building the scenes it have been used only original ancient instruments, tools and devices combined with other technical and artistic hints to generally improve the whole representation impact. The event meets the favourably interest of a lots of local and national media, but first of all of RAI-Radiotelevisione Italiana (the Italian State Television) that unexpectedly joined in town with a troupe and making a wonderful reportage (even thanks to the worthy guide of the director Mrs. Anna CAVASINNI). So the event was lately seen on RAI2 inside the TV-show "Prossimo Tuo", making nationally grow the town and the representation prestige...

By the 4th Edition (december 28, 1996) the representation reaches higher aesthetic levels with enriched details but, in the spirit of a logical continuos evolution, the ride is enlarged more, reaching the total length of more than one chilometre: now, a complete visit of the Presepe needs no less than two hours...!! In the meanwhile, the fame of the "Presepe Vivente di Baia e Latina" has grown over the expectations and the visitors comes in town copiousness: at the local residents, gets added thousand of  guests comin' from all over the nearby Regions. But behind the necessary technical hints made up to carefully avoid it, long rows were produced at the gate entrance, with a consequential waiting time comprised between 15 and 60/70 minutes; but, except this, the general organization, seemed to sustain almost perfectly the situation, even if media reporters and cameramans had to work quite with difficult, 'squeezed' within a human mass of people...

Considering the huge amount of visitors registered in the previous Edition, by the 5th Edition of the manifestionThe Nativity representation of the Vth Edition of the Presepe - Ph. © ENZO MAIELLO 1998 (december 27, 1998) the organization staff members decided to basically better ameliorate the security of the ride. To do this, they invited a remarkable number of personnel from the Italian Protezione Civile, Croce Rossa ("Red Cross"), Boy-Scouts, local volunteers and State Police to guard the tour way and to supply help and assistence to whoever coulda have needed it. This time, the "organization machine" worked excellently and, thanks also to the large amount of transceivers employed (over twenty, connected one with each other!!), the entrance and the exitting to the representation was perfectly managed, with helps and hints in real time in the critical points or in case of difficulties. By the merely artistic point of view, by this Edition the staff improved at the best the actors "interpretation" and the scenes action presented in each sight. In addition, for the first time, all the visitors received a little souvenir of the Presepe Vivente: some little artistic statues artisanally handmade from the town's boys and girls.

The 6th Edition of the Living Nativity has been made up saturday december 29, 2001 and it reached the record of over 7000 visitors, carefully assisted thanks to a huge security measures system and an indefinable number of collaborators and volunteers. All this, also because of the incredible expectation felt in town and in the area around due to a lucky circumstance that lead some representatives typical characters of our "Presepe Vivente" to previously join in the RAI1 morning TV show "UnoMattina", introduced by Paola SALUZZI and Luca GIURATO. During the show, the anchor-woman Paola Saluzzi also talked about our representation as "..one of the most beautiful Living Nativities of Italy..".
The participation at the show reached a remarkable national success, also because last but not least, we surmounted the concourse of other 31 similar representations...!!

And here it came the 7th Edition, performed friday 26 and saturday 27 december 2003. The Presepe Vivente of Baia e Latina registered the usual success among the people: a huge crowd came in town to see the pageant even if in the meanwhile there were other 5 representations alike in the towns closer. This simply meant that actually the Presepe Vivente di Baia e Latina was going to become the most important Xmas pageant of the whole area. More, suddenly in the neighbour towns, it started growing a lots of similar representations and, very often, we also noticed they was a complete copy of our original one!!.. Anyway, it was impossible for anybody to recreate the atmosphere and wonderful magic of the Medieval Borgo of Baia e Latina, so thata over 10.000 visitors come to see our Presepe Vivente. Also various national newspapers (like "La Repubblica" and "Il Mattino") talks about the representation describing it in a very special way. Last but not least, during the second day performance (saturday december 27 and, partially, in the late evening of the sunday 28), a film troupe hit the town and place one of his sets right facing the Holy Nativity scene grotto, even working hardly between thousand of intrigued visitors: and all this, just to complete the taking of the last mass scenes for the film "UN NATALE DIVERSO" ("A differents Christmas"), directed by Francesco De Gregorio, whose main scenes have been filmed since two years just in our town and on our wild hills...

The 8th Edition of the Presepe Vivente, has been performed monday, december 26 2005, featuring a special new: the presence of a medieval open fare and market between the representation, featuring a lots of local and foreign salers exposing their merchandise inside some of the oldest houses of the town.
But unlucky, behind all the organisation efforts, the representation has been deeply affected by a hurting rain that made extremely difficult walking, resulting in a slowly and uncomfortable visit of the pageant to the still numerous mass of visitors...


And the story goes on, waiting for the next forthcoming 9th Edition of the "Presepe Vivente - Cittą di Baia e Latina (CE)"...


Well, it looks yesterday, but since that fundamental "cold and rainy november evening of the 1987" almost 20 years are flied away and a lots of adversities passed by (..and someone, unlucky, very very sad..). But the "Presepe Vivente di Baia e Latina" it's still here, dumb witness of the time flowing, with its five past Editions and a success always increasing year by year that makes it be the worthiest reference point for all other similar representations in the area around. That's why, still now, its magic atmospheres are all synthesized in the slogan initially created from ENZO CUNTI and that represents the main light that guides all the staff members to give the visitors (..as better it's possible..) always something more.
Because this is, and it must forever remain:


Assisted navigation: click here to go back to the previous page Assisted navigation: click here to go to the next page



Back on top

Copyright © 2000/2008 Com.Per. Presepe Vivente Baia e Latina - All rights reserved.
Concept, Artwork & Programming by ENZO MAIELLO.

Home ] Su ]