(You can enlarge a picture by clicking on it.)
|Life-size presepio in Piazza San Pietro.
|The rustic presepio inside St. Peters.
|From the Banco di Napoli, a display in 18th century style with 210 figures ranging from a glory of angels to a simple baker. Some details appear below.
|Half life-size figures from the 17th century.
|Half-size figures, including the shepherd's zampogna at front right.
|Micro-miniature presepio built in an eggshell.
|Perhaps the largest genuine 18th c. presepio, in the Certosa di San Martino in Naples.
Built into the old monastery kitchen, it's about 15' wide. Figures are 6"-8" high.
|Closer views of the three kings and their retinue.
|Dozens of full and partial presepi in the old style were on display in Naples
at the church of Santa Maria Maggiore.
|Fruit and vegetables made from colored wax.
|This one from the Amalfi coast features the fishing trade.
The holy nativity is nearly lost. It's up on the porch, under the red angel, near the stern of the boat.
|An incredibly detailed musical instrument maker's shop,
complete with wood shavings, tools and stringed instruments each about 2" or 3" high.
Not everyone confines their modeling to rustic old times. These days if you visit Via San Gregorio Armeno in Naples, the street where everything relating to presepi can be bought, you will see figures from government, entertainment, and sports alongside tiny automobile models, TVs and even Steve Jobs holding a Mac. I have to ask myself how many people set up a home nativity scene populated by star soccer players, Marcello Mastroianni or Barack Obama, but it’s fun to see the imaginative representations of them in the shops.
|Via San Gregorio Armeno in Naples, presepe central,
and below, some of the things available there.
|The goose-egg seller.
|Fish, eels, fruit, salami, mushrooms.
Above are figures from the news. You can pick out Steve Jobs at the left, but you might not recognize the new Italian prime minister, Mario Monti (available in two sizes, with his hands in his pockets). The ex-prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is at front left with two of his playmates, or in the stiff and formal style behind the blonde in red, and at right with vampire teeth and cape. "Mi dimetto" means "I quit." The other big notice says that due to the fall of the government, Berlusconi is offered at 50%.
Below are Italian sports heros and heroines for your home nativity scene. (Well, yes, also Monti again and the pope.) The realism is impressive, right down to the tattoos and sponsor logos.