One of the first things we did on my visit to Naples was visit the touristy bit of downtown:  my family knew I would particularly like Christmas Alley, and indeed, it was (forgive me) right up my alley!  :D

Naples is (I learned) the birthplace of the Nativity Scene.  I love nativities and it’s always been a big part of our family holiday tradition. So it was marvelous to see this little cobblestone alley, steeply sloped, crowded on both sides with little shops full of miniature villages and bits of villages and parts of bits of villages.  A marketplace full of model marketplaces, in ever-diminishing scale:  tiny shepherds and angels but also tiny fish vendors and cheese makers and cobblers and pizza ovens and grandmothers looping tiny fresh pasta over tiny wooden racks, pigeons and doves and street lamps and fountains, all heaped into bins, small, smaller and smallest, for fore-, middle-, and background.


Next we went on a tour of Naples Below… but meanwhile, we have grand ambitions of a large-scale nativity scene with moving figurines in all 3 scales, only it’s going to be The Hobbit.  Hobbit hole up front, dragon cave in the far background…

PS — At the end of Christmas Alley we were approached by an obvious con artist, who was an adorable canary.  He traveled up and down the street in a little wooden box, carried by his human associate.  They would approach tourists, clearly offering an opportunity to take a “selfie with canary,” and also clearly expecting tips (the suggestion was an outrageous 5 euros).  We declined to give them money, but the canary did sit on my finger, and then on Jaden’s, and then when we tried to return him politely to his box he hopped up onto my shoulder and got himself tangled up in my hair.  Once we got him back where he belonged, he opened a little drawer in his box — no kidding — and picked out a lottery ticket, which he handed to me with his tiny little beak.  At that point I was impressed enough to give him the 5 euros.  I hope he was giving a fair share to the guy carrying him around…  It’s a great little street scam and I am sure there are whole flocks of young canaries being taught this shady art.  They probably pick pockets, too.  Of course after all that we totally neglected to take a picture! I will have to draw one…


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Categories: Postcards


The sense of danger must not disappear The way is certainly both short and steep However gradual it looks from here Look if you like, but you will have to leap. ~ W H Auden

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