Buon Natale from the Italian Galery

Il Presepe (the nativity scene) is the centerpiece of Italian Christmas decorations. Each church has a large presepe outdoors.

Il Ceppo is a wooden frame with a pyramidal shape several feet high and has three to five shelves. The one in this gallery has three shelves. The bottom, largest shelf represents God's gift to man and holds the family's treasured presepe. The middle shelf represents the Earth's gifts to man and holds nuts and fruits. The upper shelf reprsents man's gifts to man and holds man-made things like arts, crafts or presents. The top of the pyramid is decorated with a star, angel, or pineapple. The pineapple represents hospitality. The ceppo is beautiful and has candles at the outside of the shelves. This Ceppo is called "Tree of Light." Some other parts of Italy the word ceppo refers to a Yule log.

Children will enjoy visiting this gallery to see La Befana, a kindly old woman with magical powers who brings toys to the children of Italy for the Feast of Epiphany, January 6. This is a legend and many stories are told.

Stop to see this year's decorating theme in the Italian Gallery on Sundays from Nov. 27-Dec. 23. Call the museum for a private tour.