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San Gregorio Armeno: the street of the nativity scene in Naples?

Naples is a city rich in tradition and culture, and one of its hidden pearls is San Gregorio Armeno, a street that has become famous throughout the world for its nativity scene art. Located in the heart of the historic centre, this charming and picturesque street is an unmissable stop for visitors who wish to immerse themselves in the Christmas atmosphere and discover the art of nativity scenes. In this article we will tell you the history of the neighborhood and give you some advice on what to see in San Gregorio Armeno.

San Gregorio Armeno is known as the “Via dei Presepi”, a place where the art of nativity scenes has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. Walking along this street, you immerse yourself in a magical world of craftsmanship, creativity and religious devotion.

The history of San Gregorio Armeno

San Gregorio Armeno takes its name from the church of the same name, built in the 14th century, dedicated to San Gregorio of Armenia. The neighborhood has ancient origins, dating back to Greek and Roman times, but over the centuries it has developed as a center of craftsmanship and culture.

Around 1700, local artisans began creating realistic and detailed nativity scenes, depicting nativity scenes with traditional characters such as Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the Three Wise Men and many others. Over time, the art of the nativity scene has been refined and improved, becoming an important art form in Neapolitan culture.

Today, San Gregorio Armeno is a street crowded with shops, workshops and artisan workshops, where it is possible to admire and purchase nativity scenes of all shapes and sizes. Local artisans showcase their manual skills, creating intricate characters and scenarios that capture the attention and imagination of visitors.

While walking along the street, you can admire statues of saints, angels, shepherds and more. Among the figurines present you can recognize the faces of many famous people such as Totò, Pino Daniele, Troisi and obviously Maradona could not be missing. The meticulous details and artistic expression of these objects are incredible to behold and reflect the passion and mastery of the artisans.

Statues of San Gregorio Armeno in Naples

The art of the nativity scene between history, technique and tradition


The origins of the art of the nativity scene in Naples date back to the medieval period. At the time, nativity scenes were often depicted in the form of paintings or sculptures inside churches. These first representations of the nativity scene were mainly reserved for the ecclesiastical environment and were not yet part of popular culture.

During the Renaissance and Baroque, the art of the nativity scene in Naples began to develop more complexly. Nativity scenes became more elaborate and detailed, with the introduction of statues made of terracotta, wood and other materials. Artists and craftsmen began to specialize in creating figurines and nativity scenes.

During the 18th century, the art of the nativity scene in Naples underwent an important influence from the theater. Nativity scenes became true scenic works of art, with painted backdrops, small stages and a wide range of characters and details. This evolution led to the creation of complex and spectacular nativity scenes.

Technique and tradition

The artisans, often belonging to families who have handed down this art for generations, sculpt each individual figure by hand. Using wood, terracotta, papier-mâché or ceramic, they create expressive, detailed faces, realistic clothing and accessories.

After sculpting, comes the hand painting phase. The craftsmen use acrylic paints to bring the figures to life. Every detail, from the eyes to the hair and clothes, is painted with great precision. It is this phase that gives personality and life to the figures.

Shepherds of the nativity scene in San Gregorio Armeno

The nativity scene miniatures wear elegant clothes and accessories that are made with great care. Fabrics, lace and various materials are used to create authentic clothing items. Details such as buttons, belts and shoes are made with precision to make the figures as real as possible.

One of the most famous and influential families in the art world of San Gregori or Armeno is the Ferrigno family. Giuseppe Ferrigno was one of the most renowned craftsmen of the 19th century and his workshop became a point of reference for nativity scene lovers. The Ferrigno family tradition continues today with subsequent generations following in their footsteps.

What can you do in San Gregorio Armeno?

San Gregorio Armeno is not just a destination for lovers of nativity scene art. The street is also famous for its craft shops, where you can buy traditional items, such as ceramics, wooden toys, textiles and other unique souvenirs representing local craftsmanship.

Furthermore, along the road there are several historic churches that are worth a visit, such as the Church of San Gregorio Armeno and the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore. These sacred places add a touch of spirituality to the visit and offer an opportunity to reflect on the deep faith and devotion of the Neapolitan community.

How to reach San Gregorio Armeno?

San Gregorio Armeno is located in the heart of the historic center of Naples and is easily accessible on foot or by public transport.

Naples has a well-developed metro network, and it is possible to reach the “Dante” station (Line 1) or the “Museo” station (Line 1) and then walk to San Gregorio Armeno. Both subway stations are within walking distance of the neighborhood.

If you prefer a walk from the train station, the neighborhood can be reached on foot in about 20-25 minutes.

If you visit Naples during the Christmas period, don’t miss the opportunity to discover the magic of San Gregorio Armeno and take home a piece of the art of Neapolitan nativity scenes.