at risk this year... because they have no donkey to complete
the picture. ,
Every year Sant' Eufemia on the Adriatic stages a nativity scene with local volunteers and even a real infant.
"We've got two babies this year just born. We even have an ox but there are no donkeys, either to buy or rent", said a spokesman for Sant' Eufemla town coun cil, in the province of Reggio Emilia.
Last year's donkey was loaned to a neighbouring village for an Advent play but later contracted pneumonia and died.
Meanwhile, near Naples, a gang hijacked a lorry load of "shepherd" figurines destined to decorate churches and homes this festive season in Nativity scenes.
The result is that 2,700 hand-crafted scenes will each have an elaborate electric star but no one no shepherd, no donkey, no sheep to follow it.