"100 Cribs" is a presepial art exhibition which begun in 1976, from an idea by Manlio Menaglia, to reaffirm a typical Italian tradition that in those years was at risk to be superseded by the Christmas tree’s fashion extraneous to our culture.
We wanted to draw everybody’s attention, in particular children and young people, to cribs’ work of art ,no matter how they are built as long as they respect the values of peace and brotherhood of which the Nativity is a bearer, in order to reinstate for each family the tradition of crafting the nativity scene following its own project.
Another purpose is to promote the Crib to spread more and more abroad, even in countries where other confessions are professed, thanks to numerous tourists who visit the Exhibition around Christmas time in Rome and to the mass media. The international vocation of the event is, on the other hand, enriched by the exhibits of about 200 new cribs each year, of which more than 50 are from the five continents.
The Exhibition traditionally takes place under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic and under the patronage of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Senate of the Republic, the Chamber of Deputies, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities, Lazio Region, Rome Capital and the National Association of Italian Municipalities.
The denomination "100 PRESEPI" is only a historical reference, as it refers to the number of cribs displayed in the first editions. In the Exhibition, visitors have the opportunity, through the great variety of options, to increase their knowledge of nativity art in its creativity and stylistic aspects.
Indeed, the great interest from the public and from the mass media inspire the diversity of the materials used and of the creative styles which embody a large variety of the wide range of handcrafts that every Italian region and every foreign Country have, in illustrating the culture, the traditions and the folklore of the territory of origin.
The cribs, which are completely rebuilt every year, come from almost all Italian regions and from about 25 foreign countries; they are art works from Italian/ foreign artists and artisans, collectors, amateurs, elementary and middle school students, representatives of cultural and social associations, state and from local bodies and national and foreign museums.
Countless are the materials used such as coral, silver, porcelain, glass, bronze, ceramics clay, wrought iron, wood, papier-mâché, recycled materials; chocolate, bread, corncobs, corn, caps or buttons, shells of seafood, pasta, car candles, pencils and so on. Size ranges from the miniature proportions to those at eye level. The static or animated cribs have different sceneries: from the Napolitan and Sicilian classic ones of the seventeenth and eighteenth century and from the Roman ones of the nineteenth century to those futuristic assembled with crystals, iron and colored lights or imaginative car engines, televisions, barrels and more.
Nativity scenes and vintage crib statuettes , coming from museums and private collections, are artwork created by the most illustrious masters and artists from the past, and come from regions of the most ancient crib traditions such as Campania, Lazio, Liguria , Puglia, Sicilia and also from abroad. In the past six editions the exhibition has been awarded with silver plaque by the President of the Republic, and plaques and medals by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.