Discover authentic Italy at its Christmas best with the Poffabro Presepi.
Presepi (nativities) are one of the most beloved Christmas traditions in Italy.
Italians love them and they’re everywhere: in town squares, chuches, homes, windows, adorning boats and everywhere in-between.
Created by artists and locals alike, they’re one of the best parts of the holiday season.
Welcome to Friuli-Venezia-Giulia: Italy’s Undiscovered Gem
Tucked away in the quiet NE corner of Italy, is the off the beaten path region of Friulii-Venezia-Giulia.
Despite having beautiful cities and a diverse natural landscape, it’s largely ignored by international tourists. Which is exactly why it feels like an undiscovered gem.
It’s here that every year at Christmas, you’ll find the tiny hamlet of Poffabro, decorated with nativities.
The Friuli region has been my home for the last 20 years and I can assure you that it’s full of delightful surprises, like Pofabbro.
Wandering villages is a favorite pastime of mine because it’s where you experience the everyday local Italian life. While normally quite charming, many of villages become even more magical during Christmas.
The Hamlet of Poffabro
Profabbro is a sleepy hamlet of less than 1000 people.
It boasts a rural architectural style, with houses made of local stone and stacked wooden balconies. Many of the buildings date back to the 16th and 17th century.
Built into the rocky side of the mountain, it’s as if time has stood still in this part of the world.
Profabbro boasts a beautiful church, a bar, an osteria and an artisan slipper maker.
Oh, and a man who sells flower bulbs on the honor system. Charming, right?
In the winter, a wooden chalet is set up in the main piazza, which sells mulled wine and other holiday treats.
It’s relaxing & atmospheric.
Quite typical, these experiences promote community and connection, things that bring well-being to the Italian way of life.
Pofabbro is also a member of I Borghi piu belli d’Italia, which is an association of small Italian towns of historical interest.
Many of these towns and villages are the hidden gems that people long to discover when they travel Italy. They’re full of local life, age-old traditions and lively people.
The Pofabbro Presepi
So, what’ so special about the Poffabro presepi?
For one, you can’t find a better setting for outdoor nativities than an ancient hamlet in the mountains. The rustic and natural elements give it a life all its own.
Even better, it’s a quiet place to explore. Modern life seems miles away, giving your mind & body a much needed break.
Prespei, are everywhere. Tucked away in courtyards, hanging on walls and adorning window sills.
Taking you back in time, walking these tiny walkways feels a bit like a bygone era.
For some reason, it reminds me of my childhood Christmas memories. When decorations were simpler and more nature based and Christmas Day was about long family meals.
A project that began in 1997, I Prespei fra Presepi brings curious folks out year after year to see what new creations await.
You can’t help but smile when you see a terracotta roof tile decorated with adorable 3-D animals!
Every few yards reveals a unique new nativity, large or small.
Even the church has presepi lining the sides of the church and the alter.
As you can see, the nativities are charming during the day.
At night, they’re even more evocative.
The Pofabbro presepi are the perfect opportunity to wander without agenda. To be present and take in the surprises around every corner.
All 150+ of them!
And the best part? Time spent with the Poffabro presepi, well…it’s an absolute pleasure!
You can find more information about other presepi locations in the Friulii region here.
One thing is for certain, if you like off the beaten path adventures with local traditions, the Friulii region might just be your cup of tea.
What do you think, is there a spot for presepi on your bucket list?
until the next time…
…live well – travel well – be well
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