Via San Gregorio Armeno

Via San Gregorio Armeno

A picturesque alley in the heart of Naples, Via San Gregorio Armeno is known across Italy for its artisan shops selling handcrafted pastori, or nativity-scene figurines.

The tradition behind this famous street lies a long way back in history: in classical times it was home to a temple dedicated to the Roman Goddess Ceres, and her faithful devotees brought offerings of small terracotta figurines handmade in nearby workshops. Fast forward to the end of the 18th century and the growing popularity of Nativity scenes, known as "presipio" in Italian, saw these statuettes being adapted for this festive use.

These days, as well as representations of the most typical religious figures for Christmas, you can also find more modern secular figurines, from everyday characters such as butchers and dancers to famous footballers, politicians and celebrities.

Not just for Christmas

Via San Gregorio Armeno is a charming little lane hidden between two of Naples' most important city centre streets: Spaccanapoli and Via dei Tribunali. No matter what time of year you happen to visit, you'll find yourself surrounded by quaint old shops with handcrafted statuettes and extravagant "presipio" spilling out into the narrow streets

It's a great place to visit if you want to shop for an unusual souvenir, and while you'll find it filled with tourists perusing Nativity figurines throughout the year, at Christmas it descends into pure madness!