Sanctuary of Greccio

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Sanctuary of Greccio
20110517 Greccio 055 (5762418332).jpg
View of the Sanctuary
42°27′42.99″N 12°45′3.68″E / 42.4619417°N 12.7510222°E / 42.4619417; 12.7510222Coordinates: 42°27′42.99″N 12°45′3.68″E / 42.4619417°N 12.7510222°E / 42.4619417; 12.7510222
DenominationRoman Catholic
Functional statusActive
Architectural typeChurch

The Hermitage of Greccio Sanctuary (Italian: Santuario Eremo di Greccio) is one of the four shrines erected by St. Francis in the Sacred Valley, along with the Sanctuary of Fonte Colombo, the Sanctuary of the Forest, and the convent of Poggio Bustone. It is located in the Italian town of Greccio, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the city of Rieti, seat of the homonym province, is recessed at an altitude of 665 metres (2,182 ft) above sea level, in the rocks of the mountains in the immediate vicinity of the medieval village of Greccio with views of the wide Rieti Valley.


The St. Francis legendarium affirms that he chose this place for devotions. A story within the legendarium tells of a child to whom Francis threw a firebrand, flying like an arrow, and it landed on the rock wall of a hill, the Velita, owned by a lord of Greccio. In 1223, Francis here observed and oversaw a retelling, with live people, of the story the birth of Christ on Christmas Eve. Legend has it that a little boy, the only character not part of the living re-enactment, came to life during the event, before returning to death. Since then, Greccio and its sanctuary is the country of the first nativity scene in the world. Later it was twinned with Bethlehem.

Sanctuary and chapel[edit]

The shrine is a Latin cross, characterized by a side wall and an apse hexagonal. The mullioned windows are Gothic style. Inside there are frescoes modern and original chapel of the saint carved in the rock. The church is located after crossing the square. It joins the refectory. The church has a Latin cross with a bell tower. Under the medieval church is the crypt of St. Francis with a lunette showing the 'Preparation of the Nativity. The painting dates from the 13th century.


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