Venice may be virtually void of tourists during Christmas, but its churches remain crowded with local characters. Unheated basilicas all over the city furiously one-up each other with ornate presepi (nativity scenes) and crèches (Christmas cribs). The most over-the-top display belongs to the Friars Minor in the Basilica of the Frari, where an elaborate mechanical nativity scene, replete with lights, sounds, and clockwork characters, occupies the chapel.
4. Insider's Tip
Published on Nov 21, 2007 as a web exclusive.