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Often called the shepherd’s street, Via San Gregorio Armeno in winter is one of most charming and worth to see spots in all Naples. Discover this magic place!

This is a place well known in Naples and places beyond. The fame of this street comes probably from innumerable artisans’ little workshops where figures for Presepi (Crèches) are being handmade. Tough open all the year round, those shops are filled special atmosphere of feasts, joy and art. Here, some weeks before Christmas concentrate the life and attention of all Neapolitans. If Naples happens to be your wedding or honeymoon destination, here is the place you must see.

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The street joins two quarters, so called decumani: the Maggiore (Major) and Inferiore (Inferior), and it is enough to follow their paths to arrive to this magic place full of colours and sounds. But the beast solution for those using public transport (metro or train) is to get off on the Piazza Dante stop, and arrive to Port’Alba. From here you cross the San Sebastiano Street, arriving to Via Benedetto Croce (known as well as Spaccanapoli – Naples splitter). Arrived there, you follow the way opposite to the Piazza del Gesù Nuovo.
How you’ll recognize you’re there? Well, first of all you’ll hear it! Vendors shouting, offering competitive prices for their products, traditional music being played: here is this magic world!
It is difficult however to describe this place with simple word, for it is a masterpiece picture painted with colours sounds and smells.

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But if you intend to follow Italian crèche tradition, and built one yourself, Via San Gregorio Armeno is just the place for you! From cork wood or carton miniature houses, to mechanical elements such as mills, fountains all elements are characteristic for the genuineness and originality;  the terracotta shepherds, all of them hand painted, some of them 30cm high and clothed in real fabric, handmade costumes. There are as well fruit and fish sellers, characteristic elements for Neapolitan crèches. You may be surprised by some strange and uncommon figures used for the crèches here in Naples: the pizzaiolo, the pizza maker which puts his pizzas in the oven or butcher. Of course no shops misses the traditional and classic elements of the nativity scene: the Holy Family, the Three Wizards, and different animals to fulfil the picture.

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Still among all those objects of generations old traditions you can find some surprising, if not shocking things: this is where Neapolitan creativity, fantasy and irony show themselves: recreated in all possible dimensions are terracotta figures representing the popular politician of the turn (the first minister mostly), famous actors, singers or football player such as famous Maradona.  Tough not traditional, those caricatures are now the usual sight at the san Giorgio’s stalls. Some of workshops specialized in production of those modern and uncommon “shepherds”, in fact, as soon as someone gets to first pages of news, the artisans pay the honours by recreating the star of the turn, often in a pose or with gesture characteristic for the “victim”.
A perfect spot for a day trip is open all the year round, so you don’t necessarily need to visit near Christmas when it is most crowded but most charming. If you happen to have an Italian honeymoon, don’t forget about this old and beautiful part of Naples!

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