Hidden treasures

The underwater Nativity set in the Venice lagoon

Unknown places & works
presepe-sommerso

The underwater Nativity set in the Venice lagoon

On 26 January 1961 the Croatian Wrmac merchant ship sank off the island of Lido in the Venetian Lagoon, about 3 miles outside the harbour mouth, because of the shifting of the ship load (amounting to more than 1,300 tons of pyrite) caused by the rough sea. The helmsman and the boatswain of the crew, consisting of twenty-two men, perished in the tragedy and two sailors went missing.

The proximity to the coast and the low depth at which the wreck lies have made it a destination for scuba divers. On 23 December 2005, the Moi club, a group of Venetian diving enthusiasts, attached a small marble Nativity set on the propeller blade at the stern. The work, which measures 50x50 cm, is a copy of the nativity set that is displayed during the Christmas period in the church of St Job in Cannaregio, made by an artist friend of the Club members.

Before being anchored to the old wreck, the Nativity set was blessed on the ground with a small ceremony in homage to the diver to whom the work was dedicated.

Finally, another small anecdote: the name of the diving club (Moi) derives from the name of the small codling usually found near wrecks and that were once, with polenta, the typical meal of fishermen!

With this fun anecdote dedicated to Christmas we seize the opportunity to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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