In Taormina, a very particular Nativity scene shows off. In fact, it was not made on a church table or inside a cave but inside the hood of an old Fiat 500 which for the occasion has been adorned with mountains, moss, statuettes of shepherds, craftsmen, animals, the inevitable cave with the Madonna, St. Joseph, the baby, the donkey, the ox, the angel, the Magi inside and battery-powered LED lights. The open bonnet, on the other hand, becomes a large celestial vault complete with a comet star.
The idea came from Mario and Andrea Strazzeri, father and son, owners of “A Sicula500”: «In 2019 – says Andrea – my father and I were looking for something that could make us work closely with tourists. I work for a laundry, while my father was unemployed. The intention was to exploit social media by providing a service to those who came to visit Taormina. After discarding the idea of the traditional Sicilian cart, we came up with the idea of the 500. Some relatives gave us one as a gift».
But the Strazzeri family’s plans were halted by covid, which limited travel and tourism for almost two years: «The car was there, the idea as well, but the times weren’t right. Only in December 2021 did we register the sole proprietorship – says the young man from Taormina proudly – and our first 500, decorated with the colors of Sicily and Sicilian carts, was an immediate success».
Now there are two Fiat 500s, but soon there will be three. For each event or anniversary, the small, ancient but always fascinating small cars are transformed, attracting thousands of clicks: «On Valentine’s Day, we put hot air balloons on the roof and the idea was a great success – explains Strazzeri to gds .it – so much so that we have been contacted by important companies who have asked us for the 500 to take pictures in Taormina. Now the Crib that has already gone viral on social media and very popular in Taormina. It is an itinerant initiative, which has the approval of the Municipality, which goes around the three most important squares of the town, namely Piazza Duomo, Piazza 9 Aprile and Largo Santa Caterina. There are many tourists who take photos with the crib and among them there are even – he concludes – those who kneel down to pray in front of the baby Jesus who is still covered in moss inside the bonnet of the Fiat 500 waiting for Christmas night”.
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