St. peter’s squAre gets sAnd nAtivity scene
VATICAN CITY: The traditional nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square won’t be so traditional this year. For the first time, it is made of sand—720 tons of it. For the past two weeks, Rich Varano, a professional sand artist, has been guiding three sculptors from the Netherlands, Russia and the Czech Republic, to craft the work, which measures about 5.5 metres high by 16 metres wide. Varano, 60, the artistic director of the massive work, doesn’t mind if you call him “Mr Sandman”. Sand is his life and love. The American from Florida divides his time between the United States and Italy. Heavy trucks brought the sand, of a type particularly suited for sculpting, from the northern Italian seaside city of Jesolo, near Venice, in mid-November.