As the sunlight shines over the Amalfi Coast on this last day of 2009, I want to wish all of you reading a new year full of contentment, joy and beautiful memories. I look forward to sharing the adventures of the coming year with you all!
Felice Anno Nuovo – Happy New Year!!
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!!
As promised, here I am with photos of the beautiful fountain presepi, or nativities, in Amalfi. Each December, two of the town’s fountains are drained and then carefully and lovingly decorated with elaborate presepe scenes by locals. These are my favorite decorations of the Christmas season since they change ever so slightly each year and I enjoy seeing how they turn out! This week I’m sharing photos of the fountain presepe in the small Piazza dello Spirito Santo in Amalfi.
Here is the nativity scene in the fountain, which is half underwater and half above water. The manger is empty now, because here in Italy baby Jesus is placed there on Christmas Eve.
I love the interaction between the figures above the water and below the water.
One of the tradition figures in any Neapolitan presepe is the pastore dormiente, or the sleepy shepherd, who is always off taking a nap in the midst of the busy nativity scene. Can you find him?
Here’s a tip … look for a grotto or cave or someplace where a sleepy shepherd might be able to catch a few winks.
There he is! I hope his flock doesn’t wander too far while he sleeps through yet another holiday season! You can see more photos of this presepe from last year by clicking here.
Do you have a pastore dormiente in your presepe?
The Christmas lights and decorations are up and Amalfi is covered with these beautiful signs of the city at night with fireworks above. I’m already looking forward to New Year’s Eve in Amalfi! But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. There is plenty to happen between now and then!
Christmas has certainly arrived in Amalfi! I like the stars leading up the staircase next to the Duomo. I will have to snap a photo at night the next time I can. In the meantime, here you can see the stars and the beautiful campanile, bell tower, of the Duomo:
The Christmas tree has arrived (as well as the scuolabus and matching car) in the main piazza of Amalfi. It will have lights, but they usually don’t decorate it all that much. I guess they’re going for the au naturel look.
This is one of the many presepi, or nativities, that you will find in Amalfi during the Christmas season. It’s located all the way at the top of the city and is built into the rocky side of a building. It remains there throughout the year, so anytime you visit you can see it. I love all the little houses built into the rocks just like they are here on the Amalfi Coast!
During Christmas the nativity figures are added. Here you see the grotto with Mary and Joseph and the empty manger waiting for when the Christ child will be placed inside on Christmas Eve.
There are two beautiful fountain presepi in Amalfi, and I’ll be sharing those here over the next two Tuesdays in December.