Napoli remains the best place to see presepe with hundreds throughout the city - in churches, squares and if you are lucky private homes. Via San Gregorio Armeno is lined with shops selling all your presepe needs year round. The items that are found there range from working fountains to haymows to tiny butchers knives - everything needed to recreate the town of Bethlehem as it could have only existed if it was miraculously transported to Italy.
Here in Roma presepe have been set up all over town - the top of the Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo, St Peter's Square and the various churches - but my favorite this year is at Parco del Musica. A delightful nativity scene created in 1997 for Torino by the late Emanuele (Lele) Luzzati (right). The amphitheatre between the three halls is filled with more than life size colourful figures in the destinctive style of Genovese artist, who retained a childlike joy in all his creations until his death at the age of 85 in 2007.
Unfortunately last weekend for the first time in two years I hadn't brought my camera with me to a concert so I will have to wait until next week to get some shots. In the meantime I found a worthy proxy in the the well stocked Parco bookstore window: a pop-up Presepe based on Lele's designs.
It brought back memories of that first nativity scene I had as a child and I just had to get it to add to our Polish creche and South-western corn husk manager.
The whole scene has a fanciful lightness and joy which, for me at least, conveys the true spirit of the Nativity. Its a shame all the other wonderful characters that Lele designed couldn't be fit in but it is, after all, only a pop-up book. Later this week I'll try and get some shots of the big display but in the meantime I have to find a place for my new Presepe. I think place of honour under the tree will be appropriate.
13 decembre - Santa Lucia da Siricusa