Christmas in Napoli has always assumed many aspects of spiritual significance. It condenses the most profound sense of a particular religiousness rooted in the local culture and expressed in myriad ways. The Neapolitan Christmas is a convivial occasion with opulent Baroque nuances, brimming with aromas, surprises, colors and flavors.
Unfortunately, even in Napoli you hardly ever see the "zampognaro" bagpipe players anymore. When I was a child and adolescent, they underscored the festive mood during the Christmas holidays, with that sense of eager expectation and emblematic significance. For me, always traveling around the globe, Christmas is now an ideal moment of tranquility, a time for reflection, thought and assessment. Even more than New Year's Eve, it is a moment for meditating on life in general and on future projects. Spending time with the family, I can finally enjoy my city to the fullest. This "full immersion" in Napoli can be spiced up with a few lazy digressions to Capri. Still today, my children and I like to explore the crèche makers' shops on Via San Gregorio Armeno, which you can only find in Napoli, during the weeks of Advent to avoid the incredible crowds on the weekends. This trip takes me back to my childhood when thirty or forty of us gathered in our large family home in Sorrento. A huge Nativity Scene was set up for the holidays and constantly supplemented with new shepherds, animals and details as well as realistic and picturesque theatrical effects. We were all awed and excited when the crèche was unveiled, a moment that coincided with everyone exchanging gifts just before Midnight Mass.