In the historical centre of Naples, in Via San Gregorio Armeno, the art of nativity is a tradition more than 400 years old. The street, also known worldwide as the “street of nativity”, is famous for its many artisanal shops where artists work all year round to produce handmade figures which sizes vary from a few millimetres up to man size. The streets start to get crowded from the beginning of November until the end of January, however shops selling nativities are open all year round. The majority of artisans have learnt the job from their ancestors as this is a job passed by from generation to generation. Every year, as per tradition, the artisans produce some of the most popular characters from TV, politics, or real life who, for any reason, have attracted media attention. Some are spoofs like the one representing Berlusconi and the political cast.
If you go there, do not miss the church and monastery of San Gregorio Armeno, in the same street as the nativity shops. The entrance is quite understated but it hides one of the most beautiful treasures of the Baroque age. The cupola was painted by Luca Giordano and it represents the Glory of San Gregorio. A masterpiece.