Christmas in Puglia: The Living Nativity in Tricase

The town of Tricase, almost at the tip of the Italian heel in Puglia, is often called “The Bethlehem of Italy” for the living nativity (Il Presepe Vivente di Tricase) that takes place here each year. Supported entirely by volunteers from civic groups and schools, everyone from children to grown-ups (about 250 residents in total) dress in period costumes that transform the town into a Nativity pageant. The tradition was started in 1976 by resident Andrea Rizzo. For the 2010-2011 holiday season, this free event takes place on December 25, 26, 28 and 30 and January 1, 2 and 6 at 5 p.m. — Sharon Sanders