Every year, on December 8, a holiday for the feast day of the Immaculate Conception, celebrations in piazza Duomo officially begin the festive season in Florence. The mayor, Dario Nardella, begins them by switching on the lights of a giant fir Christmas tree. Then, before celebrating Mass in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Archbishop of Florence blesses a life-size nativity scene, which is set up beside the Cathedral—or, in Italian, a presepe deriving from the two Latin words praesepe and praesepium, meaning “manger” and “fenced enclosure”, where the cattle and sheep were kept. Beautiful handmade terracotta statues of the Holy Family and several farmyard animals are placed inside a wooden stable decorated with moss and holly. Created by the artist-artisan Luigi Mariani, these unique statues were fired in the historic furnace of Angiolo Mariani and Sons, the family business in Impruneta, which, in 2011 donated them to the Opera of Santa Maria del Fiore. All the figures of the nativity set, including the animals, are replaced on January 6, when the Cavalcata dei Magi, or the Cavalcade of the Three Kings, takes place in the city centre on another holiday, for the Epiphany. The fir tree is also taken down that same day.