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Natale a Lignano Sabbiadoro

Lignano Sabbiadoro’s Sand Nativity 2017

Lignano Sabbiadoro’s own Sand Nativity has come to its 14th installment, with last year gathering up to almost 70,000 visitors, so many that the organisers have had to extend the exhibition’s opening dates. Those who have had the pleasure to see this event grow larger and larger every year, will be pleasantly surprised by this season’s installment. We don’t want to give too much away, but know only that the theme is going to be very current and strongly felt, and is going to bring us once again some delightful memories.
For all those who don’t want to miss an opportunity to see it, Lignano Sabbiadoro’s Sand Nativity is going to be open to the public from Dec. 8th, 2017 until Jan. 28th, 2018. The entry is free with a small donation.

Presepe di sabbia Lignano Sabbiadoro

We present to you this interview to the President of the association ‘Dome Aghe & Savalon D’Aur’, Mario Montrone, promoter and organiser of Lignano Sabbiadoro’s Sand Nativity, crafted by the sculptors from Accademia della Sabbia in Rome.
Good morning, Mr President. How did the association get started?
The association ‘Dome Aghe & Savalon D’Aur’, which translates to “just water and golden sand”, was created by a passionate group of Lignano citizens who just wanted to bring some Christmas spirit to their small seaside town. The public library was one of the first institutions to get involved in the association’s activities aiming at organising events for the whole community during the cold Winter season. I must admit it wasn’t a huge success, which pushed us to look even further for more events and initiatives to promote. The real turning point was 14 years ago, with a phone call with the director of ‘Accademia della Sabbia’ in Rome, at 3 in the morning, who accepted to craft Lignano Sabbiadoro’s first Sand Nativity, a small work of art of 2 sqm in only two days. Today, after 14 years, this work of art measures 400 sqm, and the whole community, besides last year’s 70,000 visitors, participated actively to this event. There is even a project to create a Christmas square, which would be alive with tourists the whole year.
Why this idea of a Sand Nativity in Lignano Sabbiadoro, 14 years ago?
Because we are called ‘Sabbiadoro’ (‘golden sand’), and we decided to invest everything on our sand, utilising exclusively the one coming from our beautiful coastline, for a nativity scene which lives and breathes on our own beach. No treatments, only water and golden sand, that’s also the reason why our association has its name.


Think only that, in order to make a 20 cm cube out of pressed sand, you need a 1 m cube. The work is gigantic, and to make this feel as natural as possible, we have decided to set the entire Sand Nativity on Lignano Sabbiadoro’s beach, so that the night’s humidity can keep the sculptures moist and preserve all the little details, without having to retouch them ever again.
What does the yule tree inside the exhibition area of Lignano Sabbiadoro’s Sand Nativity represent?
This was actually suggested by Rome’s Accademia della Sabbia. The yule tree of celtic origin, ancestor of the Christmas tree we all know, was used to celebrate the Winter solstice and to wish the cold season away. Initially decorated with ribbons, it switched over time to fruit, like apples and such, and today is adorned with festive decorations. But to us, it all started when we started giving out pieces of paper to all visitors, inviting them to write a wish for new year and hang it on the yule tree next to Lignano Sabbiadoro’s Sand Nativity. The 100 best wishes of previous year are exposed in the central showcase, so that everyone can look at them.
Other activities that make our exhibition area so rich are the Christmas tree made out of seashells, decorated by the children of Lignano, and the candlelit path where every candle is lit by our little guests. And from this year, we even have an outdoor playground for all the kids.
Lignano Sabbiadoro’s road access is currently under slight modifications, due to road works all along the boardwalk. How can you easily access the Sand Nativity?
Our visitors will certainly have to be a little patient about the modified driveability, but just looking at this map they will be able to see all the available parking spots and open restaurants on that day.
As a last note of hope – once again going to show how Lignano Sabbiadoro and the association ‘Dome Aghe & Savalon d’Aur’ all share a strong sense of solidarity and support – after last year’s inclusion of a delegation from the town of Amatrice, devastated by an earthquake, in Lignano’s New Year celebrations, this year we are not only going to give everyone as a present a small sand nativity crafted by Accademia della Sabbia di Roma’s own sculptors, but a bus is going to leave Lignano on December 16th, bringing our gospel choir over to Amatrice as a gift to their beautiful town.
We would like to thank the President and leave you with a gallery of photos as a little spoiler, thanks to the amazing job done in these weeks by these talented sand sculptors: Pedro Mira, Eda Kaytan and Sokolova Irina.

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