Today we are going to take a look at what is happening in and around Naples this Christmas.

First and foremost, Naples is, of course, famous for its production of Christmas cribs and figurines. The craftsmen of Naples do not just make traditional figurines but include contemporary characters in their cribs and this year, inevitably, you will see figurines of Silvio Berlusconi and the model “Ruby”.

The craftsmen work at their figurines all year round but in December the atmosphere in via San Gregorio Armeno [sometimes called “via del Presepe” – “Crib Street”] is special. The street becomes a huge “crib market” stocking thousands of figurines and other items for your crib. You will be able to see the craftsmen at work and of course, if you do not want to buy, you are welcome to just look. This year the market will open on 5th December and continue through to 28th December.

You can see nativity scenes from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the Museo di San Martino in the monastery complex on the Sant’Elmo hill, including the famous Presepe di Cuciniello with 162 people, 80 animals, 28 angels and around 450 miniatures.

“Natale in Mostra 2010” is another Christmas market which will take place in Naples this year. It will celebrate traditional crafts and products from the whole Campania region and will be open from 3rd – 12th December. There will be a special space for children, a food area offering tastings of regional specialities and an entertainment area. Admission is free and the opening times are:

Daily from 17.00 – 21.00
Holidays: 10.00 – 22.00

On now to the Pompeii Sanctuary, where the first edition of “Natale in Fiera” will take place from 17th - 19th December. Here you will be able to see more crib figurines, taste traditional, seasonal sweet dishes and buy handcrafted Christmas gifts and decorations . This fair is organised by “Pompei Now”, a group of young professionals from the city who want to promote local culture, arts and crafts to tourists.

Sorrento holds its outdoor Christmas market in the main square throughout December and until 6th January and the whole town is beautifully lit, with fairy lights adorning the palm trees. The stalls literally groan under the weight of the various panettoni on display and you will be able to solve all your Christmas gift problems here.

There will be a display of Neapolitan cribs at Sorrento’s Villa Fiorentino from 8th December and this will be inaugurated by two master craftsmen of figurines from Naples. There will be a 23 - metre Christmas tree in Piazza Tasso and there will be folk music throughout the festival.

One word of warning if you are spending New Year in Naples: in some districts people still throw old utensils and pieces of furniture out of their windows to “welcome in the new” on New Year’s Eve!