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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter: The Grand Presepe Of Giuseppe Loda


So, now that I've got my winter coat and hat, I'm in the mood to stay on the subject of winter in Stresa for a while and talk about some other aspects of it here. First of all, let's speak about the presepe exhibit, because this year there is a big change of venue.



Following the overwhelming success of last year, when it was displayed in Spazio Luparia, the mechanical and wondrous presepe made by Giuseppe Loda will be moved to a larger space this year. Hotel Milano, in Corso Umberto I on the Lungolago is the location that has been chosen. Here, the presepe, the largest on display anywhere in the VCO region, will be more visible and accessible.


This presepe is incredible. It is 12 meters in length, 4 wide; it has over 100 figurines, as well as huts, houses, castles, and animals, and all have been made by hand by Signor Loda. Most have small motors that he has installed, to give constant movement and action to the scene.

Last year I wrote a bit about the history of this extraordinary presepe and its creator. I'm copying that here again for you to know:


Giuseppe Loda made his first terracotta house when he was 8 years old. He baked it in his grandfather Paolo's kiln. Now, Loda creates nativity scenes of truly spectacular size. His latest work is over 12 meters in length, 4 meters in depth, and features over 100 statues. It is on display in Stresa in Spazio Luparia, an always fascinating little gallery located on Via Bolongaro, just off of the new Piazza Pozzi.

Loda spends an entire year working on each of the enormous presepi. He creates each piece, no matter how minute, by hand and by himself. Loda explains, "I construct all myself, the houses, the vegetation. See those houses in the Arabic style on the hill? I constructed them and also the palms. It is meant to be a homage to the immigrants of the Muslim faith. The lights that shine through the windows of those houses are the types used in their religion." There is also a homage to Stresa in this presepe; don't miss the reproduction of the little train which ran at one time to the summit of Mt. Mottarone.

As Loda learned the art of ceramics and nativity building from his 'nonno Paolo', he is hoping that the passion will again skip a generation and be picked up by his grandson, Eduardo. "To my own two sons I didn't succeed to pass it on," he says. Let's hope that six-year-old Eduardo shows an interest, as talent such as this would be a shame to lose.


Here are the dates that the presepe will be open for viewing:

In December: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26
In January: 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9

Can't be there? Want to enjoy a preview? Here's a video made last year at Spazio Luparia.





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