Nativity Scene by Gerardo Sacco

Away in the Manger … in Italy

FRIENDS OF THE NATIVITY I grew up with a beautiful hand-carved Italian manger scene that was as prominent in our living room as the live fir tree standing across from it. The wooden pieces were quite large and I particularly liked the animals, but I understood they weren’t toys. My sisters and I had a smaller nativity we could set …

Christmas Eve at St. Peter's

Christmas Eve at St. Peterʼs

CHRISTMAS EVE TICKETS Arms pinned to my sides, neck craned, strobe-like lighting accompanying a vertiginous din . . . the memory of my visit to the Sistine Chapel many summers ago. An unfortunately negative experience that featured hordes of unruly tourists and their flashing cameras left me with a less than favorable association with the Vatican. So when my friend …