Crèche with a lane in Naples with market scenes
Most Neapolitan nativity scenes do not put the main focus on the sacred events, rather they are colourful renderings of the lively hustle and bustle of the southern Italian city. The audience would therefore have to look for a reference to the Christmas story in this market scene. This playful element has a didactical background: through conscious observation, the viewers would find what they were actually looking for. However, the apparent everyday life in the manger does not correspond to historical reality. Neapolitan nativity scenes were extremely expensive and reflect the perspective of the elite on their subjects and poorer fellow citizens.