Vatican City, November 21 - Preparations for this year's Vatican nativity scene began on Wednesday with the promise of a low-cost approach in tune with the economic crisis in Italy and Europe. The large creche, built at the foot of the obelisk in the middle of St. Peter's square, has been a Vatican tradition since 1982 when Pope John Paul II introduced it as a way of making Christianity's biggest square more Christmasy. This year's near life-size statues will come from the region of Basilicata, while the crib and the traditional Christmas tree will be provided by the region of Molise. The inauguration of the creche, which traditionally takes place on Christmas Eve, marks the start of a 'peace vigil' in St. Peter's with a light kept burning on the balcony from which the pope delivers his sermons. The St. Peter's scene joins another famous creche at the Spanish Steps which has been part of Roman Christmases for years. Italy is famous for its nativity scenes, dazzling tourists with its many magical representations of the birth of Jesus in the run-up to Christmas.