In Italy, a floating Nativity scene brings Christmas magic to Venice

Burano's floating Nativity scene returns this Christmas season.

A floating Nativity scene has been installed in the waters around the island of Burano, in the northern part of the Venice lagoon, for the second year in a row.

The magical spectacle, comprising 62 wooden shapes representing Nativity figures and animals, is located in an open stretch of water, without hindering boat traffic.

Inaugurated on 7 December, the Nativity was created by local resident Francesco Orazio, a greengrocer by trade but an artist at heart, who hand-crafted and painted each figure.

It took Orazio and his brother two days to set up the installation, ensuring each plywood figure was fixed with stakes and anchored to the lagoon floor, interlinked with ropes.

Orazio was not taking any chances this year after a storm washed away his work last Christmas, scattering dozens of his figures across the lagoon.

In the end, thanks to the help of local sailors and his craftsmanship skills, Orazio was able to recreate his Nativity in time for the Befana on 6 January.

This year the holy scene, complete with camels, sheep and shepherds, unfolds over a 150-m stretch of water, and is already making international news.

Many people are coming by boat to see the figures whose feet - for a couple of magical hours each day - are exactly level with the water.

Cover photo Alessandro Tagliapietra

General Info

Address Burano, 30142 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy

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In Italy, a floating Nativity scene brings Christmas magic to Venice

Burano, 30142 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy