#80 Fontanini Village

Acquired 1993

This gorgeous set was a huge surprise to me from my husband on the return of his 1993 moose hunting trip. He purchased this set in the Haus-Smith Christmas store he found in Sand Springs, Idaho. Of the 50 possible pieces, he purchased 35. The set he purchased is called the Presepio Collection of 1992. Total purchase price was $604, including a 15% discount.Fontanini Heirloom Nativity pieces are imported exclusively by Roman, Inc. The pieces are crafted in the little Italian town of Bagni d Lucca, in the province of Tuscany in northern Italy. Here is the home of the Fontanini family enterprise that has crafted these pieces since 1908. The current master sculptor is Elio Simonetti. He possesses a unique ability to breathe life into clay, infusing it with character and spirituality. From his original sculpture are taken plaster molds of each component. The molds are filled with a specially formulated polymer that captures every line and texture of the original sculpture. Furthermore, this durable material can never by marred by chips or nicks. Then the pieces are intricately hand painted.I started this set with the 35 pieces Bob purchase for me including the very large rambling stable with the side smaller barn area attached to it by a long fence. Fontanini is a growing line of Nativity Village figures - some are added each year, some taken out of circulation (which increases their value!) and one special annual piece is added each year. While my set has grown to 52 pieces, the stable, and four small fences, I haven't followed the collection each year. I have only one of the annual pieces and I'm not even sure which one it is. I enjoy Fontanini for the set that it is and haven't gotten into the “collecting” part of it. It beautifully fills the top of my hutch for display and stays up all year. I do have a partial list of the pieces I possess with their identifying numbers.