Italy’s amazing sand Nativity Scenes in Jesolo

Jesolo hosts 12 masterpieces by international sand sculptors this Christmas.

Sculptors from around the world return to Jesolo, a seaside resort near Venice in north-east Italy, for an annual sand festival dedicated to religious art.

The 18th edition of the popular event, which skipped a year due to the covid pandemic, opened on 9 December and can be visited until 6 January 2022.

On display are 12 monumental sculptures, made entirely of sand, depicting Nativity scenes as well as biblical stories of healing and miracles.

The sculptors used thousands of tons of sand to create their masterpieces which appear to be carved from stone.

Instead the works have been created with the most ephemeral of materials - without a drop of glue used - relying only on skill and water.

Jesus heals the bleeding woman, by Jakub Zimacek. Photo Comune di Jesolo - Avvenire.

This year's event, whose title is The Sand of Miracles, is once again under the artistic direction of American Richard Varano who selected artists in Europe and America to participate in the prestigious festival.

Varano gained international attention in 2018 when he oversaw the creation of a giant sand Nativity scene at St Peter's Square in the Vatican.

Alongside the Nativity and Bible scenes is a sand sculpture dedicated to doctors, nurses and police for their efforts during the pandemic, and - for the first time - an angel carved from trees felled by the ferocious Vaia storm three years ago.

For more information about the festival and for visiting details see the Jesolo Sand Nativity website.

Cover photo: Detail of Nativity by Susanne Marguerite, David Ducharme and Marielle Heessels. Image courtesy Comune di Jesolo - Avvenire.

General Info

Address 30016 Jesolo, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy

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Italy’s amazing sand Nativity Scenes in Jesolo

30016 Jesolo, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy