There are shops where Christmas is celebrated and sold all year long. In Naples, Italy, there is one entire block where Christmas is truly revered. Via San Gregorio Armeno, otherwise known as “presepe alley,” is where the tradition of handmade Italian nativity sets is celebrated all year. It’s an off-the-beaten-path alley worthy of a visit while celebrating Christmas in Napoli.
Small, family-run shops line both sides of this tiny side street where figures are carved and cribs created in traditional and non-traditional settings. Some of the sets are so elaborate with intricately carved wise men, while others border on the absurd. I mean really, what soccer player ever made his way to Jerusalem that first Christmas? Yet, here in Naples you can find nativity sets with every popular celebrity, especially the Napoli triumvirate of Cavani – Hamsik – Lavezzi.
Bring plenty of patience if you visit this street during the Christmas season. The Saturday crowds are “pazzo” and squeeze into the narrow byway like alici in a can.
Buon Natale a tutti!