Emanuele Fontanini

Mark your calendars!
Fontanini 2024 Tour Event.
    Sunday, December 1, 2024
   2 – 4pm, CT
Check back for details as they become available.

The Shrine Gift Shop at Our Lady of the Snows was the very first Fontanini tour stop, back in 1986! For 36 years (except for the 2 Covid years), we have welcomed our dear friend, Emanuele Fontanini to the Shrine Gift Shop to visit with you, our loyal patrons and to personally sign Fontanini nativity pieces.

We are scheduled once again to host Emanuele this November.

Fontanini Nativities are carried by some of the most prestigious stores in our nation and around the world. There are consumers across the country who collect each beautiful piece when it is introduced.  When you invest in this line, you become part of a vast network of loyal collectors.

History of Fontanini

The family patriarch and company founder, Emanuel Fontanini, embarked on his career of figurine crafting in 1893 as a talented 13-year-old apprentice to an artist in Bagni di Lcca, an area of Tuscany known for its great arts and crafts. Fontanini expanded his knowledge and skill in art through travels to European cities. He returned to Bagni di Lucca to launch his company in 1908, using money earned from the sale of his wares throughout the continent.

Working with the finest painters and sculptors in Tuscany, Fontanini began crafting figures and decorations of heirloom quality in a single room shop.  In time, Fontanini gained recognition and acclaim for its work and Emanuele Fontanini’s sons Ugo, Mario and Aldo joined him in the business.  As the family earned acclaim for fine masterpieces, the Fontaninis expanded into creating a broader selection of fine nativities and Mario took on the leadership role at Fontanini in 1936.  Later, Mario’s sons Ugo, Mariano and Piero became the third generation to head up the rapidly growing enterprise.  Founder and family patriarch Emanuele died in 1977 at the age of 97 with Fontanini well established and ready for continued growth.  Although no longer housed in the cherished room used by Emanuele in the early 1900’s, Fontanini continues to operate in the village of its founding. Today, the namesake of his great grandfather, Emanuele, along with his brother, Stefano, have assumed the leadership roles in the family business.

It was fitting that Fontanini would distinguish itself as the premier designer and maker of heirloom quality nativities and figures; for it was in another Italian village, hundreds of years earlier, that St. Francis of Assisi introduced the celebration of Christ’s birth with a living nativity.  It is also the custom of Italian families to sculpt figures of people from all walks of life as they pay homage to the newborn King.  Fontanini focuses on this illustrious heritage and devotes both talent and skill to the production of their collection.





More NEW 2024 nativity pieces coming soon!


Seven Piece Figures with Stable #74835

Available in-store only

2024 Event ornament

Lamech, farmer
2023 Tour Figure

Sofi, shepherdess
Repaint, 2023

Japheth, boy shepherd
2023 Limited edition

Teman, hunter
Repaint, 2023

Eliana, villager
New, 2023

Eder, sheep shearer
Repaint, 2023

Zillah, sitting villager
New, 2023

Thomas, rug merchant
Repaint, 2023

Add to your Fontanini® Nativity collection today!

The Shrine Gift Shop stocks Fontanini year-round. Fontanini pieces always make great gifts for weddings, new homes or any occasion to add to existing collections.

The Shrine Gift Shop is open every day 10am – 5pm, CT

Orders may be placed over the phone by calling the Shrine Gift Shop at 618-394-6230, or 800-682-2879, option #3.

Shrine Gift Shop
442 S. DeMazenod Dr.
Belleville, IL  62223
800-682-2879, Option #3
Open every day
10am – 5pm CT