To say I was inspired would be like saying landing on the moon for the first time was just another day at the office. I was moved beyond words.
What’s the secret to Mauro’s success? Every one of his gloves are handmade by expert craftsmen. His employees still use the non-electric Singer sewing machines from the early 1900′s, they cut the leather by hand, and use natural light to distinguish color shades.
The hunt always starts where so many of the presepi do, Naples Christmas Alley, Via San Gregorio Armeno, home to many of the artisans that craft the presepi. From there, I revisit the city’s Permanent Collections, and then… the adventure begins.
Walking into a dimly lit anteroom, I found myself surrounded by an extraordinary body of work created by a man who has dedicated his entire life to his craft.
A tiny alley in Naples Centro Storico, along with the fish market at Porta Nolana, Via San Gregorio Armeno is the heart and soul of the Neapolitan Christmas. And by the first week of December, it is jam packed with shoppers seeking to add to their nativity scenes and thousands upon thousands of curious tourists.
A traditional craft that is said to date back to Saint Francis of Assisi’s commissioning of a Nativity scene in the 13th century, Naples elevated this craft into high art. By the 18th century, thanks in part to the patronage of King Charles the III, the art of the presepio was in its golden age.