Buy a souvenir from Via San Gregorio Armeno
Buy a souvenir from Via San Gregorio Armeno. Via San Gregorio Armeno aka San Liguoro for the Neapolitans can be found between via dei Tribunali and Spaccanapoli. It is famous throughout the world for its shops where handmade terracotta figurines are made, attracting large crowds especially during the Christmas holidays.
Here all year round the clay statuettes used to populate the Christmas crib are handcrafted, traditionally by Neapolitan families which sell their products at the beginning of December and put them away after the Epiphany. Sometimes the figurines are built by hand, using cork and paper that they model on a rudimentary wooden structure.
The art of the crib is an ancient art, and represents the whole population, grafting into a mountain setting, in addition to characters of the nativity, between caves and streams, even those of daily civil life; the fishmonger, the innkeeper, the pizza chef, the castagnaro, the straw maker of chairs, the acquafrescaio, and other shopkeepers.
Sometimes contemporary characters are also reproduced that at that particular moment attracted more public attention and actors of the Neapolitan comic tradition. Among the latter, a special place belongs to Eduardo De Filippo, great playwright and protagonist of the Neapolitan comedies who is depicted intent on building and contemplating his nativity scene in “Christmas in the Cupiello house”, perhaps his most loved and popular work.
The popularity of this ancient tradition, that makes Italians more aware of their traditions (in juxtaposition with the Nordic Christmas trees), has assumed the role of a protective spirit of the shepherds, due to the character most reproduced in the figurines. Of course, among all the characters depicted, San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples who in via San Gregorio Armeno is very much revered, could not be missing. As is Diego Maradona who is more like a god in Naples than a saint. That you will