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The 2012 nativity scene at St. Peter's Square in Vatican. 
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The 2012 nativity scene at St. Peter's Square in Vatican.

"The traditional nativity scene mounted every Christmas in St. Peter's Square will this year be offered to the Holy Father by the Italian region of Basilicata.

The nativity scene, which includes one hundred terracotta figures, is the work of Francesco Artese, one of the most famous exponents of the southern school of traditional nativity sculpture. The most striking characteristic of Artese's work is his recreation of landscapes of the Stones of Matera and his reproduction of scenes of rural life. Indeed, the nativity of St. Peter's Square is reminiscent of locations in the Holy Land.

According to an informative note published today, "The Lucanian landscape has been enriched by the work of religious people who have chosen to live there, transforming these places into a human settlement rich in holiness, building 154 rupestrian churches, monasteries and sanctuaries which, from the high Middle Ages until the nineteenth century, have shaped the identity of a vast area which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"The scenery of the nativity, therefore, while inspired by a traditional iconographic genre, is rendered unique by elements reproducing locations and architecture typical of the Lucanian landscape. The rupestrian churches of San Nicola dei Greci and Convicinio di Sant'Antonio are recognisable, and above, the bell tower of San Pietro Barisano stands tall amid the myriad rooftops. The human environment is that of ancient Lucanian rural civilisation ... and the statuettes, made entirely of terracotta, are dressed in clothing made of starched cloth and based on the typical Lucanian peasant costumes of the past. Artese has chosen to dress the Holy Family with costumes in the classic tradition".

"As in previous years, the installation of the nativity scene is entrusted to the Technical Services of the Governorate of Vatican City State". (Vatican news agency message).

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The nativity scene in St Peter's SquareDetail from the nativity scene in St Peter's SquareDetail from the nativity scene in St Peter's SquareDetail from the nativity scene in St Peter's SquareDetail from the nativity scene in St Peter's SquareDetail from the nativity scene in St Peter's SquareDetail from the nativity scene in St Peter's SquareDetail from the nativity scene in St Peter's SquareDetail from the nativity scene in St Peter's Square
Inside the church of San Lorenzo in Damaso, Piazza della Cancelleria, Rome. 
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Inside the church of San Lorenzo in Damaso, Piazza della Cancelleria, Rome.

Wikipedia: San Lorenzo in Damaso (Saint Lawrence in the House of Damasus) is a basilica church in Rome, Italy, one of several dedicated to the Roman deacon and martyr Saint Lawrence. Known since antiquity (synod of Pope Symmachus, 499) as Titulus Damasi, according to tradition San Lorenzo in Damaso was built by Pope Damasus I in his own house, in the 380s.

Donato Bramante rebuilt the church in the 15th century, by order of Cardinal Raffaele Riario, within the restoration works of the close by Palazzo della Cancelleria. The last restoration was necessary after a fire that damaged the basilica in 1944.

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Inside the Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. 
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Inside the Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.

Wikipedia: It is the oldest and ranks first among the four Papal Basilicas or major basilicas of Rome (having the cathedra of the Bishop of Rome). It claims the title of ecumenical mother church among Roman Catholics. [...] The cathedral itself is located outside of the Vatican boundaries, within the city of Rome. However it has been granted a special extraterritorial status as one of the properties of the Holy See. This is also the case with several other buildings, after the solving of the Roman Question with the Lateran Treaty.
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An apostle from St. John Lateran's BasilicaAn apostle from St. John Lateran's BasilicaAn apostle from St. John Lateran's BasilicaAn apostle from St. John Lateran's BasilicaAn apostle from St. John Lateran's Basilica
The imposing main nave of the Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. 
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The imposing main nave of the Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.
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The cosmatesque floor of St. John Lateran's Basilica, RomePapal arms of Pius IV on the coffered ceiling of St. John Lateran's BasilicaPapal arms of Pius V on the coffered ceiling of St. John Lateran's Basilica
Inside the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome. 
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Inside the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome.

It is one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome. According to tradition, the basilica was consecrated around 325 to house the Passion Relics brought to Rome from the Holy Land by St. Helena of Constantinople, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine I. At that time, the basilica floor was covered with soil from Jerusalem, thus acquiring the title in Hierusalem - it is not dedicated to the Holy Cross which is in Jerusalem, but the church itself is "in Jerusalem" in the sense that a "piece" of Jerusalem was moved to Rome for its foundation.

The church is built around a room in St. Helena's imperial palace, Palazzo Sessoriano, which she adapted to a chapel around the year 320. Some decades later, the chapel was turned into a true basilica, called the Heleniana or Sessoriana. After falling into neglect, the church was restored by Pope Lucius II (1144-1145). In the occasion it assumed a Romanesque appearance, with a nave and two aisles, a belfry and a porch. [...] The apse of church includes frescoes telling the Legends of the True Cross, attributed to Melozzo, to Antoniazzo Romano and Marco Palmezzano. (Text from Wikipedia).

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Thursday, Nov 2, 2017: On the walls of Palácio da Pena in Sintra, Portugal
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