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Neapolitan nativity scene traditions


Why is the Neapolitan nativity scene famous all over the world? Why is the nativity scene so important to Neapolitans? Here are our answers.

The Neapolitan nativity scenes are famous all over the world in many sizes. Neapolitan nativity scenes may be great artworks host in museums or tiny handcrafted masterpieces.

In fact, although even in Naples the nativity scene is set up as usual on December 8, its design can also last for the rest of the year! It’s a big deal!

Also, according to the tradition, baby Jesus finds his place only at midnight between December 24th and Christmas.

Let’s find out the other traditions related to the nativity scene in Naples.

Neapolitan crib, traditions

In Naples, the crib has much more meaning than the Christmas tree. Neapolitans didn’t use to decorate a Christmas Tree until the 1950s.

Until the 16th century, only monasteries had nativity scenes. Between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many aristocratic houses could afford it. Instead of tracing everyday life, the nativity scenes of aristocratic homes reflected a life that did not correspond to real life. The crib was, more than a tradition, a creative moment.

If usually, the holy family is the center of the nativity scene, the Neapolitan nativity scene greatly expands the context, creating a kind of an independent small word.


The nativity scene alley in Napoli

One of the most famous streets in the historic center of Naples is via San Gregorio Armeno. Along via San Gregorio Armeno there are lots of shops where you can buy figures for the cribs. Besides figurines depicting traditional characters, it is possible to find small reproductions of famous people, and of furnishings, food, animals. This street is crowded throughout the year. Is there a better souvenir than this?


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