The Stabian Nativity Scene

The Stabian Nativity Scene

The Stabian Nativity Scene

The ancient shepherds of the Cathedral of Castellammare di Stabia, all together in a single permanent setting.

Come and discover the The Stabian Nativity Scene inspired by the Castellammare di Stabia of the nineteenth century, with its ancient shepherds, and its suggestive scripts. Il Presepe is easily reachable from our holiday home on foot in just 10 minutes.

On December 18, 2019 , the Stabiano stable crib was inaugurated at the Co-Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Catello in Castellammare di Stabia . This project is the beginning of a path to safeguard and enhance a work of art that is the heritage of Castellammare di Stabia and the surrounding area. The collection is unique in its kind , in fact not even Naples can boast such a numerous set of almost life-size shepherds dating back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries: eighty pieces, of which sixty-five shepherds, three putti and twelve animals .

The Stabian Nativity Scene

The so-called nativity scene of Monsignor Francesco Petagna, Bishop of the Stabiese Diocese since 1850, has had a very troubled history made up of thefts, losses and damage caused by the inexorable passage of time, by scarce or non-existent maintenance but above all by sacrilegious hands whose damage was very serious , beyond the imaginary, and reduced the collection to a “disheartening cemetery of shepherds”, as amply documented during the phases of the last restoration entrusted to the competence of the Carlo Iacoletti company in Naples with the advice of Mrs. Paola Iacoletti Catello and the supervision of Superintendence for Artistic and Historical Heritage of Naples and its province entrusted to the historian Ida Maietta.

This long and delicate restoration work began in the year 2000.

The Stabian Nativity Scene

After the exhibition in the Cathedral of the first restored shepherds in 2001, the success of the exhibition in Bologna in the Basilica of San Petronio in 2003, for the Holy Christmas of 2004, the Stabiesi were able to admire their nativity scene in all its beauty. But when everything seemed to proceed in the right direction, the twist, the grain of sand capable of blocking the most oiled gear.

Due to differences on the most suitable place to host “the rock”, the project was slowed down until it came to a halt, almost amid general indifference.

It is inspired by the Castellammare of the nineteenth century .

nativity scene

It is inspired by the Castellammare of the nineteenth century and recalls: the Alfonsina Tower, the rock of Rovigliano, the “Fountain of the melons” and that of San Giacomo, Monte Faito with its caves and ravines. There are reproductions of some ancient “riggiole” from Stabia and even the patron saint San Catello. In the background an ancient view of the gulf with the beautiful side of Vesuvius dominating the scene.

Some paintings in the art gallery of the Duomo.


Nativity with Shepherds

Nativity with Shepherds

Author: Luca Giordano school

Technique: oil on canvas

Period: XVIII century

The work, clearly inspired by Jordan, depicts a tender and familiar version of the nativity: the Virgin Mary in the center, is intent on repairing the baby Jesus with the veil while he sleeps. All around, the adoring shepherds participate in the scene hushed and moved. In the foreground, a shepherd is intent on pointing to a lamb that symbolizes the mission of Jesus.


Nativity of Jesus

Nativity of Jesus

Author: attribution to Nicola Malinconico (Naples 1663-1726)

Technique: oil on canvas

Period: late 17th century

The work depicts the Virgin Mary with Child and St. Joseph surrounded by a dense group of angels and cherubs who have come to watch over the newborn Jesus. The Holy Family, placed in the foreground, stands out against the dark background thanks to the diffused light that hits it. The figures are represented with the typical post-Caravaggesque naturalism, through chromatic enhancement and strong expressiveness.


Adoration of the shepherds

Adoration of the shepherds

Author: workshop of Jusepe de Ribera

Technique: oil on canvas

Period: late 17th century

The scene takes place in an uncertain setting, with the dark background illuminated by a patch of blue sky, in which the angel announcing the shepherds can be glimpsed. In the center, the child Jesus with Mary on the left and in a rearward position St. Joseph looking at his son.


The Stabian Nativity Scene is a 10 minute walk from Stabia Holiday House, inside the Cathedral (Concattedrale) of Castellammare di Stabia, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta and San Catello, in Piazza Papa Giovanni XXIII, n. 11.


Book our holiday home now to visit The Stabian Nativity Scene and other attractions in the area.

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