In the heart of Naples, among narrow alleys and ancient streets, lies a thoroughfare steeped in history and tradition at every turn. Via San Gregorio Armeno, also known as the Street of the Nativity Scenes, is a charming place that embodies the ancient culture and traditions of the city.
The history of Via San Gregorio Armeno begins in the heart of Naples historic center. The name derives from the nearby church of San Gregorio Armeno, which was built in 930 AD to house the remains of Saint Gregory, an Armenian bishop venerated as a saint in the city. The street itself developed over the centuries around this church, becoming an important center of life and culture.
What truly makes Via San Gregorio Armeno special is its reputation as a hub for the production and sale of handmade nativity scenes. This tradition has its roots in the 18th century when the Neapolitan nativity scene became an art form in its own right. Local artisans began creating intricately detailed figures depicting nativity scenes, enriched by characters inspired by Neapolitan
daily life. Today, along Via San Gregorio Armeno, numerous artisan workshops produce nativity scenes of all types and sizes. The figures are carefully and masterfully handcrafted, and many visitors from around the world come to admire and purchase these unique works of art. During the Christmas season, the street comes alive with lights and decorations, creating a magical atmosphere.
Indeed, every year, thousands of visitors’ flock to Via San Gregorio Armeno to admire the nativity scenes and immerse themselves in the Christmas spirit. The street becomes a gathering place for Neapolitan families, who take traditional walks and do their shopping during the holidays. Furthermore, the art of Neapolitan nativity scenes was recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2017. This recognition has helped preserve and promote this precious tradition. A visit to Via San Gregorio Armeno is a journey into the past, an unforgettable experience, and an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of ancient cultural legacies that still thrive today.