Well, I was quite swept away by all of the Natale traditions and events for my first Christmas in Italy. With all the fish dishes on Christmas Eve, learning Neapolitan card games on Christmas day, walking through the whimsical Christmas lights in Salerno and the food food food food food. Oh, did I mention the food? Although I’m a bit late, I do hope all of you reading are enjoying a wonderful holiday time! To keep you dreaming of Amalfi into the new year, I’ll share with you my favorite nativity scene in Amalfi.
This one is located in a little piazzetta called Largo Scario just opposite the beach along the main road in Amalfi. During the year you’ll find a few turtles lounging in the Amalfi sun or taking a slow swim around the fountain with the resident goldfish. That is, unless you arrive when the fountain has been drained (don’t worry, the turtles and fish have a mini vacation in a nearby bathtub) to be decorated for the Christmas presepe (nativity).
Here is the nativity scene built into a grotto in the center of the fountain. I took these photos a few days before Christmas Eve, so you can see that the baby Jesus figure has not been added yet. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)
This is my favorite nativity in Amalfi because it also represents the restaurants and shops right around the fountain. Here you can see a little sign for the Marina Grande restaurant, which is right across the street on the beach in Amalfi.
Above you see the bar Gran Caffe, which is just around the corner from the fountain presepe. Do you think I could get an aperitivo?
Here you see one of the fish doing laps around the fountain, as well as the Lo Spuntino bar located in Largo Scario. (Thankfully, in reality there aren’t pigs munching away in the piazzetta today.)
Where the turtles usually lounge there is now a rural scene of hunters. Watch your step when you get over that bridge!
Here you see a charming old style fishing boat moored next to the little representation of the ceramic and coral shop owned by a friend of mine named Michelangelo. He and his family put a lot of work into the creation and maintenance of this presepe every year. Tante grazie!!
On Christmas Eve there was a traditional celebration of the arrival of Jesus in this elaborate fountain nativity. First come the fireworks and the traditional music, and then the figure of baby Jesus is passed around the piazza for everyone to kiss or touch before it is placed in the nativity. After that there was panettone for everyone!
Here is the nativity scene in the fountain after the arrival of baby Jesus. Did you see all those fireworks in the last photo? Stop back by tomorrow for some fun videos of the festivities once I get them uploaded. In the meantime, enjoy these last two days of 2009! Buone feste!!