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Part 2 of 3 - Neapolitan Crèche
Popularity of the presepi started in the 17th century when it was fashionable to find them in palaces and homes of wealthy citizens. The new found enthusiasm of erecting a presepi during Christmas may be contributed to Saint Gaetano who openly encouraged people to create the presepi as a sign of devotion. It wasn't until the later part of the 19th century that the presepi became apart of family traditions in nearly every home.
The life size figures in many of the churches and monasteries were made of wood and were beautifully crafted. In addition to wood, hemp wrapped in wire was used to create the body that would be covered in garments. The remaining parts of the body that were unclothed were made with terracotta. However they were made, they were done with exquisite craftsmanship and beauty. Some of the most impressive scenes can be seen inside the Royal Palace of Caserta and the Museo Nazionale di San Martino.
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