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Art & Culture

Campania

A journey to discover the most beautiful nativity scenes in Naples and Campania

What should you see in Naples at Christmas? That' s easy, the most beautiful nativity scenes in Italy in a fascinating mix of tradition and authenticity. Here is a guide to the nativity scenes in Naples and Campania.

28 November 2022

3 minutes

Neapolitan crib art is famous throughout the world. In the city of Naples and the rest of Campania you will find countless examples of this art that has been handed down unchanged, decade after decade.

From the street of nativity scenes in Naples to the precious 18th-century shepherds of the Cuciniello nativity scene and the amazing royal nativity scene at the Reggia di Caserta, prepare yourself for a feast of art and tradition. Here are the finest, unmissable nativity scenes in Naples and Campania.

San Gregorio Armeno, the street of nativity scenes in Naples

san gregorio armeno nativity scene naples

In the heart of Naples, Christmas is celebrated all year round.

In Via San Gregorio Armeno, a stone's throw from the Piazza Nicola Amore metro stop, the artisan crib shops welcome you 365 days a year, but at Christmas time everything becomes even more magical.

In the crib shops on Via San Gregorio Armeno you can find everything you need to decorate and adorn your home. We suggest you take a stroll down the street and have a look at the characters even if you don't have to shop, as you can discover many different characters, from the more traditional to those related to current events such as Queen Elizabeth, Maradona and Ronaldo, who are handmade into marvellous nativity figurines.

While you are in the area, why not also stop by the Church of San Gregorio Armeno, one of the oldest and most important religious buildings in Naples.

Cuciniello Nativity Scene of San Martino

cuciniello san martino nativity scene

The Cuciniello crib in San Martino is another must-see for those who love nativity scenes. The National Museum of San Martino houses the elegant and precious Cuciniello crib, a collection of 800 18th-century statuettes collected during his lifetime by Michele Cuciniello, who lived in Naples in the second half of the 19th century.

Cuciniello did not limit himself to collecting the so-called 'shepherds' of the 18th century, but also personally oversaw the arrangement in which you can admire them today, after they were donated by the collector to the city of Naples.

Banco di Napoli nativity scene

bank of naples nativity scene

Another great example of Neapolitan nativity art can be found a stone's throw from Piazza del Plebiscito: the Banco di Napoli nativity scene in the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace).

It is a large exhibition that brings together more than 300 statuettes including shepherds, animals and religious figures made by important sculptors such as Giuseppe Sanmartino, Angelo Vita and Salvatore Di Franco. All the statuettes that make up this evocative nativity scene are original 18th century pieces.

The Sand Crib in Scafati

sand crib scafati

On the outskirts of Naples, a 40-minute drive from the city centre, from the second half of December you can admire the monumental Scafati artistic nativity scene, a sand nativity created by three Spanish sculptor artists in the square of the Parish of San Francesco di Paola in Scafati.

This is the Nativity as you have never seen it before, an exciting work in sand covering a surface area 15 metres wide and 3 metres deep.

Admission is free, and on weekdays, until the end of January, you can enter from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., while on holidays and pre-holidays access is also allowed from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Royal Crib at the Royal Palace of Caserta

royal nativity scene royal palace of caserta

There are many reasons to visit the marvellous Royal Palace of Caserta, and if you love nativity scenes, prepare to be amazed. The Piano Nobile of the historical residence of the Bourbons of the Two Sicilies houses a large Neapolitan nativity scene from the 18th century, reconstructed on the model of the one commissioned in 1844 by Ferdinand II and designed by the painter Giovanni Cobianchi.

The nativity scene at the Royal Palace of Caserta is not only a feast for the eyes, but also an important testimony to the cosmopolitan nature of Naples at the end of the 18th century.

You can visit it every day, except Tuesdays, from 8.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. along with the rest of the Royal Palace Apartments. And while you're in the area, also pay a visit to the Vaccheria living nativity scene in Caserta, 6 kilometres from the city centre.

The Emerald Grotto underwater nativity scene

emerald grotto underwater crib

The waters that lap the Amalfi Coast hide unique treasures, and among them is the underwater nativity scene of the Grotta dello Smeraldo in Conca dei Marini, a stone's throw from Amalfi: five fibreglass statues positioned at a depth of 4 metres.

We suggest a boat trip to this evocative cave from Amalfi for a small taste of the nativity scene. If this is not enough, pop into the centre of Amalfi to admire the De Cape E Ciucci Fountain with a special nativity scene set up inside.

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