Like every year, the famous Via San Gregorio Armeno in Naples, Italy, fills up with tourists from all over the world who visit the renowned nativity stores located all along the street. Authorities in the city have decided to set up one-way pedestrian traffic to ensure better flow of tourists. The area of the “decumani” or the ancient Roman roads, suffers from pedestrian congestion, “especially in the Christmas period,” the council said in a statement released to CNN.
The new rules went into effect on the first weekend of December, and are to be implemented from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 7 to 11, and again from Dec. 17 to 23, as reported by CNN. The rules will then be in effect from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
The history of this street goes back to the time of Greek urbanism where the villa San Gregorio Armeno became the historical center of the city of Naples. At that time this important street connected the Plateia Maggiore that today we know as Via dei Tribunali and the Plateia Inferiore that today is known as Spaccanapoli. So these two important streets were perpendicular to Via San Gregorio Armeno. At one time, Via San Gregorio Armeno was also called Plaetia Nostriana, in the name of St. Nostriano who was bishop of the city.
Via San Gregorio Armeno has been the protagonist of the origin of the tradition of nativity scenes since ancient times, when the classical era took place. At that time, in Via San Gregorio Armeno there was a temple in honor of Ceres, so that since that time in the street there have been various sales of wooden statues and papier-mâché.
The road was also called the “Street of Nativity Scenes”, because in addition to being the center where this type of handicrafts and figurines were sold, there was an alley between the Decumanum and the Grande Archivio.
Today the street is recognized worldwide as an exhibition center of craftsmanship, where there are many stores where canonical and original statuettes are made for nativity scenes, so that every year the artisans are responsible for making this type of statuettes resembling current characters that stand out for performing positive or negative activities during that year. This type of artisan tradition is carried out in dates close to Christmas, that is to say, from November to January.
There are dozens of stores where talented artisans showcase not only the traditional Neapolitan nativity characters, but also the most famous personalities in politics, television, film, music and theater.
According to CNN, the concentration of large crowds in the historic center of Naples has worsened since the pandemic. In 2019, the authorities announced that they were planning to bring in the one-way system should crowding hit a certain level. The system began operating in 2020, when social distancing was required, and once again in 2021.