St Peter’s Christmas nativity scene comes from Malta.
The Vatican will illuminate the St Peter’s Square Christmas tree, and crib, at 16.30 on Friday 9 December.
This year’s tree is a 25-m tall spruce from the Trento region of northern Italy. It will be decorated with 18,000 lights alongside handmade ornaments featuring designs made by children undergoing treatment for cancer and other illnesses in Italy.
This year the Vatican's giant nativity scene will comprise 17 statues dressed in traditional Maltese costumes. It will also contain a replica of a traditional Maltese boat, reflecting in part the current realities faced by migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.
The illluminated tree will remain in St Peter’s Square until 8 January, the feast of the Lord’s Baptism.