St. Peter's Square prepares for Christmas

Vatican City, 4 December 2014 (VIS) – The 25 and a half metre-tall white fir tree that will decorate St. Peter's Square this Christmas arrived in the Vatican this morning. From Passo dell'Abbate, in the Italian province of Fabrizia, Calabria, its peculiar characteristic is

its double or “twin” trunk: two trunks joined together as one.

The ceremony of the lighting of the tree will take place on 19 December at 4.30 p.m. and will coincide this year with the illumination and unveiling of the nativity scene. Entitled “Il Presepe in Opera” (“The Nativity Scene in Opera”) and composed of around 25 life-size terracotta statues, it is a gift from the “Verona for the Arena” Foundation and will be inspired by the operatic works for which the city is famed, with the intention of promoting Italian opera throughout the world. This also provides the basis for the title of the display, which is a play on the double meaning of the word “opera” in Italian: it is “at work”, in the sense that its message is universal and active, and also based on the material used to stage the operatic work “The Elixir of Love” by Gaetano Donizetti.