Dear Walk About Italy Explorers,
In the enchanted world of Italian holiday traditions, our tale begins with the OG Christmas party planner, Saint Francis of Assisi, who back in the 13th century decided to throw the ultimate live nativity scene bash in Greccio. Picture this: farmers and animals coming together to reenact the birth of Jesus – it was the first-ever immersive theater experience, and they didn’t even need tickets!
As the centuries passed, the nativity scene tradition spread like wildfire across Italy. Each region added its unique spin, turning the nativity into a festive art showdown, with Baby Jesus as the undisputed star. Fast forward to the 19th century, and the Christmas tree makes its entrance, thanks to some Nordic and Germanic influence. Queen Margherita of Savoy joined the party, decking the royal palace with adorned trees and starting the Christmas tree craze in Italy.

Now, let’s add a sprinkle of Befana magic to our Italian Christmas tale. As the nativity scenes and Christmas trees took center stage in December, January 5th brought a whole new chapter – the Epiphany with a quirky twist. Meet La Befana, the broomstick-riding, stocking-filling enchantress. On this magical night, she flies around, slipping down chimneys to reward nice kiddos with treats and giving a gentle nudge to those on the naughty list with a bit of coal.
So, there you have it – a festive fusion of nativity wonders, Christmas tree trends, and a touch of Befana magic, creating a holiday season in Italy that’s equal parts enchanting and whimsical. It’s a celebration where traditions collide, and the spirit of Christmas lingers in the air well into the new year.

Speaking of which…during our Amalfi Coast Tour we visit the street of San Gregorio Armeno in Naples. What is this?
San Gregorio Armeno, nestled in the heart of Naples, unveils a captivating world where craftsmanship and tradition intertwine. Known as the ‘Christmas Alley,’ this renowned street is a treasure trove of artisan workshops and shops, each offering a glimpse into the intricate art of Neapolitan nativity scenes.
As you stroll through this enchanting quarter, marvel at the skillfully crafted figurines, from the traditional Holy Family to whimsical characters and animals. The talented artisans of San Gregorio Armeno meticulously create these detailed miniature sculptures, capturing the essence of the nativity narrative with exquisite precision.
Witness the bustling energy of the workshops, where skilled hands fashion each piece with passion and dedication. The craftsmanship extends beyond nativity scenes, featuring a diverse array of handmade ornaments, religious icons, and charming souvenirs that reflect the rich cultural heritage of Naples.
San Gregorio Armeno is not just a street; it’s a living testament to the city’s artistic legacy and devotion to preserving age-old traditions. During the Christmas season, the atmosphere becomes even more magical as the narrow lanes come alive with twinkling lights and festive decorations, creating a truly immersive experience for visitors.
In this cultural haven, the spirit of Christmas is celebrated year-round, offering a unique opportunity to witness the artistry and heritage that define Naples. San Gregorio Armeno beckons you to step into a world where the past and present converge, creating an unforgettable journey through the captivating charm of Neapolitan craftsmanship.

Walk About Italy