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.
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4. Insider's Tip
Published on Nov 21, 2007 as a web exclusive.