Christmas at the Vatican: two guests coming from far away

Every year, the Vatican receives two incredible gifts coming from abroad for Christmas. European dioceses, consortia, and other organizations take turns to pay tribute to the Holy See gigantic fir and a real-size Nativity scene — each of them coming from a different place and telling a story of its own. This tradition started 

The tradition of putting up a Christmas tree on St. Peter’s Square started in 1982 at the request of the Polish Pope, John Paul II. It is believed that fir Christmas tree, which is an evergreen plant, represents the resilience of life in fighting against harsh weather.


This year's Christmas setting at the Vatican will come from Triveneto and will be inaugurated on 5 December with the traditional lighting ceremony. For instance, the Nativity scene comes from the Trentino-Alto Adige region, known for its ancient woodcarving tradition. The artisans of the Scurelle town sculpted a massive crib scene, that will be featuring 20 to 25 life-size figures.

The tree will be just as much majestic: 26 meter high, 70 cm in diameter, the red spruce was donated by the Consortium of Rotzo and San Pietro from the northern Italian region of Veneto.

Both the Christmas tree and the Scurelle nativity will be installed at the Vatican on the eve of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will remain in St. Peter’s Square until the feast of the Lord’s Baptism on 12 January.

 Looking for a new Nativity scene for your household? Browse below our selection of handcarved wooden nativities from Trentino.