The Marine Crib of Cesenatico: the fantastic realism of a seaside village

Behind the scenes of the video Il viaggio del presepe (The journey of the crib) — At Christmas time, from the first Sunday of December till the Epiphany, the boats of the floating section of the Marine Museum of Cesenatico become the stage of the Marine Crib.

The crib was born in 1986 from an idea of Guerrino Gardinia and from the work of the artists Tinin Mantegazza, Maurizio Bertoni and Mino Savadori. The first statue sculpted was St. Giacomo, patron saint of Cesenatico, after that many others have been joined during the years.

These are not only traditional statues, but characters inspired by the lives of ordinary people in a fishing village: fishermen, carpenters, puppeteers, fishmongers, a woman with the piadina (flatbread), children and musicians.

Together with the Holy Family and the traditional shepherds, we can see someone who is mending his nets, leading the boats or selling fish; without neglecting singular particulars like the presence of a group of dolphins looking out the water with curiosity.

The statues are life-size: faces, hands, feet and all exposed parts are etched with pine wood; the clothes are made of cloth stiffened by the brushwork hot wax on wooden structures which have been strengthened through a metal frame molded to the desired shape.

The result is a very effective scene, made more suggestive by the lights of the boats reflected on the water. Each year a new statue is added to the Crib. From the seven figures of the first edition in 1986, today the sculptural heritage includes fifty statues.

The artists Bertoni and Savadori have been carrying out the project of equipping each boat with a skipper and a crew. The atmosphere becomes magical at nightfall when thousands of lights bring the figures to life as if they were the protagonists of a great theater show | watch the video

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