Last weekend while I was away, I was fascinated by the different ways in which Christmas is celebrated. Italy is obsessed with automata – some very beautiful, some unbelievably tacky – that bring religious scenes to life.
When I lived in America, it felt as if Christmas was mainly represented by Coca Cola. In England it’s rather sedentary, Christmas Pudding and the Queen’s speech followed by a walk or a visit to a pub. But in other countries, stranger celebrations are afoot at Christmas.
Italy obscures its beautiful churches with nativity tat, giant animatronic Bethlehem scenes full of rocking mangers and shoe-hammering carpenters. This one changes from day to night and is blocking the view of an original Tiepolo mural.