A few years back we went to Naples, we had been there twice before, and 'cause it is such a wonderful place to be we went back. Pompeii is in itself reason alone to go to Naples. And then there is the food. And then there is the part of the city that is devoted to selling and creating nativity scenes.
Before we even docked I knew where I was setting my foot sails. Dreaming of place can lead to disappointment, in our mind's eye real life can take on a different shade called rose. Though I knew that would not be true, even though Christmas had passed by a few weeks ago, I was certain it would look as delightful as I remembered it. How could it not?
The street was less full, and most of the large sets had been sold. The artisans that I had seen a few years ago, were obviously enjoy a break after the holiday season. Other than that, it was exactly as I remember it. Small narrow streets, shop after shop of nativity artists, colorful facades, atmosphere so thick you could cut it with an imaginary knife. There was one shop in particular that I had my hopes on, three generations of nativity and santon makers, also the last shop that sells mostly antique pieces. I did not walk straight to it, but close enough, as soon as I entered I thought, why haven't I learned Italian?
Black and white faded photos adorn the walls, photographs of their father/grandfather working and creating nativity santons. In front of the black and whites are Italian antique santons... Some I remember from my last visit they are creations/or collections from the "grandfather" and are not for sale.
My hopes were on one of them.
A well for the nativity stood outside the doorway.
Parts of santons, feets, hands, head, and body ready to assemble, paint and dress.
One of the pieces from the Grandfather's collection. Though I think my name is underneath it somewhere... How I wish I could say that in Italian.
Clay Christ figures are painted the traditional way.
These two well soon be dressed. I bought them for a blog reader/friend who asked me to keep a look out for some.
Most of the pieces I admired were made by the grandfather. The others they had either they created or painted themselves. Their small artist studio is stacked high, we talked with sign language, smiles and the passion of having something in common that can bring understanding to people who do not speak the same words, but have the same "feeling" about things.
Guess which one came home with us?
The photos on the wall tell the story of their journey as artists.