The Sanctuary of Greccio is a spectacular place located at 2000ft on a steep rock overlooking the "Holy Valley", where St.Francis used to wander. The Franciscans counted many settlements throughout the valley in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Greccio was the place where, in December 1223, St. Francis devised the first living crib. The idea was to discourage would-be pilgrims to go to Bethlehem, as it was a risky adventure, the Holy Land being then under the control of the Turks
History of Nativity..
"Francis, recalling a visit he had made years before to Bethlehem, resolved to create the manger he had seen there. The ideal spot was a cave in nearby Greccio. He would find a baby, hay upon which to lay him, an ox and an ass to stand beside the manger. Word went out to the people of the town. At the appointed time they arrived carrying torches and candles. One of the friars began celebrating Mass while Francis himself gave the sermon. Francis stood before the manger, overwhelmed with love and filled with a wonderful happiness. For Francis, the simple celebration was meant to recall the hardships Jesus suffered even as an infant, a savior who chose to become poor for our sake, a truly human Jesus."
In the convent there is the Chapel of the Nativity, dug into the rock, and, within the dormitory of the friars, the cell in which St.Francis slept.
You can find also a 13th century small church and a small choir with wooden stalls still well preserved since 800 years!
The Sanctuary of Greccio is located at about 60ml north of Rome, on a steep rock, at 2000ft of height.
At a short driving distance you can visit Umbria Region, which is named "The green heart of Italy" for its green and unspoiled countryside. Marmore Falls, (the tallest waterfalls in Europe), Spoleto and its Roman Bridge, Piediluco Lake and dozens of medieval villages are very close to the sanctuary.