My blog buddy Mitchell post a wonderful series of pictures from the crèches or belén in his town of Fuengirola that brought back memories of the presepe we saw in cities, towns and homes throughout Italy during our four Christmases there.
At the centre of each one was the familiar Nativity scene but what surrounded it seldom resembled the landscape around Bethlehem familiar from Christmas cards. The Holy Family were encircled by the traditional Shepherds, Magi and Angels but set in panoramas that mirrored the surrounding neighbourhood. Castello Sant’Angelo loomed in the background at Santa Maria in Via, in Napoli a plume of smoke from Vesuvius oversaw the birth of Christ, in Piazza Sant’Eustachio the filigree tower of Sant’Ivo peeked over the rooftops. The birth of Jesus is happening, not in a distant exotic place, but in the midst of the people who are celebrating the Feast Day.
As well as the link to Mitchell’s photos – the belén created by the children is a true delight – I thought I would reblog a post from those days in Rome. It is only a fragment of what would have been a larger scene but looking at it today gave me a sense of delight and brought back great memories.
Its no secret that I have a fondness for Napoli and things Napolitani – even though the first visit there was a bit unsettling, the second time I came away from the city enchanted and wanting to go back. And another well documented fact is my love of presepe and there is nowhere in the world quite like Napoli for these incredible minature scenes. Divina, the restaurant we went to New Year’s Eve in Madrid had the most wonderful presepe at one end of the dining room that was immediately identifiable as the work of Napolitani craftsmen.
As is this remarkable little tableau that was in the window of a small cafe on a side street off Piazza Fiume near our house. It is obviously meant to be only one element in a larger presepio. (Remember that a left click will open a larger version of the photos in…
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