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The nativity scene is one of the most popular Christmas symbols in Italy, and it carries a very rooted and ancient tradition, especially in Neapolitan culture. This is why in some areas of the Amalfi Coast, the Nativity scene has become a permanent installation that everyone can visit at any time.

by Barbara Iovine

In the Campania region, there are many examples of permanent nativity scenes, some of which are located along the beautiful Amalfi Coast. Not only the crib is among the oldest trademarks of the Campania tradition, but it also represents part of its cultural heritage, becoming a true piece of art. In fact, it is not only a symbol linked to religion, but it is also an undisputed artistic object, created by the skilled craftsmen's hands. The cities that host them let you feel the Christmas spirit throughout the year, and this is one of the reasons why they are very charming. It is just like the feeling you get walking along the famous Neapolitan street of San Gregorio Armeno.

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Fontana Cap e ciucc - Amalfi

Where are the permanent nativity scenes of the Amalfi Coast?

Let’s start by saying that the shepherds and the statues present in the nativity scene will remain in place all the time. Once the festive period will pass, the little statue of the baby Jesus will be removed to take its place again in the Nativity scene on the night between 24 and 25 December, after the ritual blessing. However, this does not mean that the cribs are not taken care of, on the contrary, their creators, or other volunteers, do their utmost with love and passion to refresh the paint and make arrangements where necessary.

Below I show you some of the most beautiful Nativity scenes in the area.


In the historic center of Amalfi, there are two permanent nativity scenes, and they are not far from each other.

The first one is in via Pietro Capuano, and it is also the most characteristic because it is set up right inside the ancient Capa e Ciuccio fountain, of which it became an integral part since 1974. Its particular location and the fact that the nativity scene is nestled inside the pool among the goldfish create a magical show, attracting a lot of visitors. The main characters are located under a bow immersed in water, while the other statues are placed along the tuff stone, which is nowadays covered with a flourishing moss that makes the whole scenario even more suggestive. The nativity scene stands vertically, along the rocky wall of the fountain itself: it is certainly a spectacular view.

Lesser-known than the first one, the second Amalfi crib is behind a gate, which often remains open to allow visitors to admire it, and it is much larger than the other one. It extends along the entire rock face, near the elementary school, with the arch of Faenza on the right side, in a truly suggestive position that will surely leave you speechless. This nativity scene is made up of stone houses and statuettes that are positioned in such a way as to reproduce the daily life of the village. The cave here is quite large, recognizable because of the angels' presence who mark the spot where the unborn child will be placed.
Even if this crib is not submerged, it is just as enchanting as the other one.

Fontana Cap e ciucc - Amalfi

Fontana Cap e ciucc - Amalfi

Conca dei Marini

In Conca dei Marini, since 1964, there is at a depth of four meters the first underwater nativity scene, located at the bottom of the Emerald Grotto: one of the most evocative nativity scenes in the world.  Its ceramic statuettes have been made by the famous ceramist Matteo Di Lieto, but they have been replaced over the years with others in fiberglass, as they are more resistant to atmospheric agents. 
Every year for Christmas takes place an evocative procession, during which the statue of the child Jesus is put in its place, at the bottom of the sea, by a group of divers: a truly unique ritual.

Underwater nativity scene at the bottom of Emeral Grotto - Conca dei Marini
photocredits: Enzo Troisi


Along the State Road 163 that runs along the sea, in Praiano, there is the largest permanent nativity scene of the Amalfi Coast. It is in a very scenic position, indeed Michele Castellano, a well-known ceramist, carved it in the rock of the famous Grotta del Diavolo with an astounding result. He impeccably reproduced the small colored houses of the village, the churches, and the typical alleys, giving an idea of ​​the life that once took place there, with all its daily activities, including those that are no longer in common use. There is also the fantastic coastal sea, with its boats and its fishermen. With the background of the famous cave, and the rocks overlooking the sea on one side, as its author says, one cannot but think that “in a place like this, Christmas has no season!”

Nativity scene along the State Road 163 - Praiano


Positano, the Amalfi Coast pearl, also hosts one of the permanent nativity scenes, even if not many people know that. The crib has been for about 40 years in the Fornillo caves area and was built directly into the rock. Its position gives it a unique charm as it runs along the road where all the passersby usually happened there by chance.
Looking at its small perched houses and the so typical stairways that dug to perfection on the wall of the cave, it amazes everybody. In the evening it is enlightened by soft lights, which make the atmosphere even more special. Visit it, if you have the chance, I assure you it will be a nice discovery for you too!

Permanent nativity scene the Fornillo cave - Positano
photocredits Giuseppe di Martino

Scala - Pontone Village

It is possible to reach the Pontone's crib starting from the city’s square (Blu Bar) and going straight that way, through the road that leads to the Valle delle Ferriere, until you get to via Prestofe. In this nativity scene, the green of nature decorates the landscape while the shepherds do not stand in front of the typical little houses, but they are positioned into the cavities of the rock indeed. 

With its little stairs and the statues that are positioned to reproduce all the old typical activities of the village, such as the fishermen and the greengrocer, the scenario appears realistic. This permanent nativity scene will for sure make you feel the Christmas spirit.

Nativity scene along via Prestofe - Pontone in Scala

Vietri sul Mare

In the city of pottery, there are two permanent cribs. One is in the hamlet of Marina di Vietri, and it is surrounded by a lot of colors, the other one is located in Pascalo’s Restaurant.

No matter in what period you visit the wonders of the Amalfi Coast, the permanent nativity scenes 

will always give you special emotions. Do not miss the opportunity to visit it, whether it is summer or Christmas time.

Nativity scene - Marina di Vietri

  • The history of the Neapolitan nativity scene began a millennium ago, as a very important document that dates back to 1025 testifies the presence of a first nativity scene in the town of Amalfi.
  • The crib, located in the ancient Cap e Ciuccio fountain in Amalfi, was built with various pieces of limestone, which were extracted in the Valle dei Mulini.
  • It is customary to throw coins in the Praiano nativity scene during the Christmas period, to express a wish.
  • The idea of ​​placing a nativity scene on the bottom of the Emerald Grotto belonged to some inhabitants of the Amalfi Coast who wanted to remember their loved ones who disappeared at sea.

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