A recipient of the title “most beautiful villages in Italy,” Greccio, in the province of Rieti, is a place so special that even St. Francis was struck by it. It was here, in fact, that the saint gave life to the first nativity scene.
But in addition to having deep religious significance, this gem of the lush Sabina is also a place where traditions and folklore allow you to go back in time, rediscovering ancient flavors. With a superb panoramic view of the vast and lush plain and the Sabine mountains that surround it, Greccio, is placidly nestled just over seven hundred meters at the foot of Mount Lacerone.
Points of interest
In addition to the sacredness of the Shrine erected by St. Francis, Greccio still bears vivid testimony to its ancient and glorious past. Its Castle is a vivid testimony to this.
But the origins of this charming village go back even further. Not surprisingly, its very name brings to mind the fact that its foundation, so tradition has it, occurred following the arrival of a colony from Greece. Fleeing destruction and war, legend has it that they found the ideal place here, where amenity and ease of defense ensured a prosperous future.
During the medieval period, Greccio was fortified and, today the ancient village still retains its immeasurable charm intact, despite the devastation and looting perpetrated by Emperor Frederick II and the Napoleonic army. It is still possible, in fact, to see what remains of the castle, for example, part of the floor of this stupendous military structure built in the 11th century and originally defended by a wall and six towers. Currently, there are three remaining towers, and in the 17th century the largest one was converted into a bell tower.
Near this tower is the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, at the top of a scenic staircase. The church dates from the 14th century and was carved out of part of the castle. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times, but still has remarkable paintings and frescoes from the 15th and 17th centuries.
Finally, after gladdening the spirit and the eyes, it is only right to taste the genuineness of the Sabina food and wine tradition, a true triumph of flavors and exceptional tastes dominated by the endless seasonal delights.