Italian Association of Friends of the Nativity

The first associations that brought together nativity and crib enthusiasts spread as early as the 19th century in Spain and Austria.

The purpose of these associations was, from the beginning, to bring together crib enthusiasts in order to perpetuate and renew its traditions, art, history, message and technique through exhibitions, competitions, conferences, and crib technique courses.

This associational phenomenon grew steadily and led to the establishment of a supranational body: in 1952 in Barcelona, delegates from Italy, Austria, Spain and Germany founded the Universali Foederatio Praesepistica, a worldwide federation that brings together, to this day, nativity associations from all over the world, also known by the acronym UN.FOE.PRAE. It is joined by 20 national associations from Europe to the United States and South America.

In the same years, Italy also saw the birth of the Italian Association of Friends of the Nativity (A.I.A.P.), founded in Rome in November 1953 by Angelo Stefanucci, an internationally recognized nativity scene artist and historian. Currently, the Italian Association has about 3,000 members and still pursues, even today, its statutory purposes through the work of its Peripheral Offices and Sections scattered throughout Italy.

The Brembo Section of Dalmine, founded by Don Giacomo Piazzoli in 1966, is one of the oldest in Lombardy.

Since Christmas of that same year, the Section began its journey with the construction of the nativity scene in the church. In the years immediately following, numerous other activities were added that would make a profound mark on its history, paving the way for many of the goals that shaped its future. The main efforts were concentrated toward the creation of exhibitions, displays, scenic nativity scenes, as well as the creation of the “Upper Italy Nativity Day,” born in 1968, one of the very first gatherings of enthusiasts held in Italy, a forerunner, along with some other initiatives on the national territory in those years, of today’s AIAP national conventions that still bring together hundreds of nativity scenesters from all over the Peninsula every year. Also in 1968, the large scenic nativity scene, the first of a permanent nature, was inaugurated.

The 1970s saw a consolidation of the various activities and growth in the number of members of the Brembo Section, which reached twenty units. The Brembo group distinguished itself by being particularly lively and organizing a variety of initiatives to spread the crib and Christmas traditions, including, in 1975, the “Holy Night” award, a contest related to poetic and narrative compositions, in which more than 500 people participated.

In parallel, the Section pursued the ambitious project of creating a collection of a permanent nature that could bring together in one place works, figures and everything related to the world of the crib, collected over the years. Beginning in 1974 the dream began to take shape, materializing in what would later become, and still is, the main endeavor and flagship of the Brembo Section: the Nativity Museum.