2015 – Christmas in Naples, Italy, from the outside

A Christmas light by the San Paolo football stadium in Naples, Italy

A Christmas light by the San Paolo football stadium in Naples, Italy

The sun shines in Naples and the streets are full.  Many are just out for the occasion, to watch and be watched, and others to shop, to sell, to beg, to walk the dog.

It’s definitely Christmas but it never stops being Naples – nothing is drowned in jingles or jolliness.

Naples, Italy

Wall decoration outside a church in Naples, Italy

Throughout the city there are the usual markets; street stalls; window displays; and crowded coffee bars … the only difference is that business might be a touch brisker …

Markets with special Christmas stock in Naples, Italy

Markets with special Christmas stock in Naples , Italy

… especially where food and family, the key ingredients for a Naples’ Christmas, are concerned.

Tombola - a favourite at Christmas

Tombola – a family favourite at Christmas usually played with money

The fresh fruit and vegetable stalls display their finest, and the fishermen fill buckets and bags of ice with their best catches as preparations build behind doors for the fish feast on Christmas Eve.

Fish for sale this Christmas in Naples, Italy

Fish for sale this Christmas in Naples, Italy

Poinsettia are everywhere.  They’re stocked in supermarkets and blaze colour on to the street corners.

Poinsettia for sale in Naples, Italy

Poinsettia for sale in Naples, Italy

They and panettone flounce along shelves and down the streets.

Santa, of course, is also here.  He can drop in anywhere but he does not steal the show in quite the same way as he does in other countries.

Christmas - centro storico, Naples, Italy

Christmas – centro storico, Naples, Italy

Struffoli, the Christmas pastry of Naples – honeyed mounds of tiny, fried dough balls, sprinkled with colour and candied fruit – wait behind glass to be chosen as gifts.

Struffoli - Naples, Italy

Struffoli – Naples, Italy

Buskers slip in amongst the pedestrians.

'Let's not lose tradition' Naples, Italy

‘Let’s not lose tradition’ Naples, Italy

Presepe parade their characters around churches, businesses and homes.

The huge presepe (crib scene) on display in the Certosa di San Martino in Naples, Italy.

The huge presepe (crib scene) on display in the Certosa di San Martino in Naples, Italy. The angels lead down to Christ who otherwise might be lost amongst the jostling figures, each a few inches high.

Shoppers cram narrow Via San Gregorio Armeno in the centro storico of Naples.  Here they search for the perfect figures to join their presepe – the most expensive are handmade, crafted for the collectors who follow in the footsteps of presepe enthusiast Carlo di Borbone, king of Naples in the 18th century.

There’s incredible detail in some of the best presepe figures, such as those donated to the Museum at the Certosa di San Martino in 1877.

Small figure of a crippled beggar and child by Giuseppe Sanmartino (1720 - 1793) who sculpted the life-size Cristo Velato (Veiled Christ) also in Naples, Italy

Small figure of a crippled beggar and child by Giuseppe Sanmartino (1720 – 1793) who sculpted the life-size Cristo Velato (Veiled Christ) also in Naples, Italy

Close to the centro storico the elegant Galleria Umberto I, swaddled in scaffolding, has a plain ‘Albero dei Desideri‘ (tree of wishes) spiked with handwritten notes.

The 'Tree of Wishes' in the Galleria Umberto I in Naples, Italy

The ‘Tree of Wishes’ in the Galleria Umberto I in Naples, Italy

Outside the Galleria Umberto I a wider stream of Christmas life feeds through the city’s retail artery, the Via Toledo, where life comes and goes, the packaged and unpackaged, living the moment.

Christmas as seen on a corner off the Via Toledo in Naples, Italy

Christmas as seen on a corner off the Via Toledo in Naples, Italy

Further towards the sea there is Via dei Mille where the shop windows of the big names stand and stare.

Louis Vuitton and the steps that lead up from the store in Via dei Mille in Naples, Italy

Louis Vuitton and the steps that lead up from the store in Via dei Mille in Naples, Italy

Here too there is Christmas but the style is more about space and glamour, it’s different to the intense experience offered by the centro storico, or the rush of Via Toledo.

The shop window of Harmont & Blaine

The shop window of Harmont & Blaine

Further around from the wide sweep of this street, and closer still to the sea, is the Piazza San Pasquale from where, if you’re lucky, you’ll sometimes hear the drift of English carols from nearby Christ Church, the chiesa Anglicana, built over a century ago on land given to the church by Garibaldi.

Carols in the English Church in Naples, Italy

Carols in the English Church in Naples, Italy

And finally, whether you’re flying into or out of Naples for Christmas, the airport is there to greet you.

Naples International Airport

Naples International Airport

Buon Natale a tutti!

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2016

8 thoughts on “2015 – Christmas in Naples, Italy, from the outside

  1. Grazie Mille Georgie

    Your deceptions and wonderful images are so full of festive anticipation and a great sense of celebration, so uniquely Neapolitan. It makes me look forward to this weekend when I will wend my merry way to via San Gregorio Armeno to buy my first Presepe! I will display it every Christmas wherever I find myself in the world safe in the knowledge that a piece of Neopolitan tradition is with me. Thank you for kick starting that Christmas feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Glynis – I shall imagine you in the old centre. I hope Via San Gregorio Armeno is not too crowded at this time of year – go early if you can. I wish you every success because I am sure that buying a presepe from this particular street, in the city of Naples itself, in the month of December gives it special connections – roots the memory deeper. (PS – I think/hope there might be a typo in your first line … was ‘deceptions’ supposed to read ‘descriptions’?)

      Like

  2. Pingback: Christmas in Naples, Italy: from the outside | aggiegraham

  3. Wow!! Fantastic photos, Georgie!! Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas, and I look forward to coming to visit you, perhaps in the Spring?!!! I am definitely coming! Much love, Catherine xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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