Greccio

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This is a town of Medieval origin. The "Castrum", from which its present name derives through Greece then Grezze, is mentioned since the 11th Cent.
The town has an excellent mineral water spring (Fonte Lupetto) as well as good receptive facilities. The Parish Church is dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, and is at the top of a beautifully planned stairway. Inside the Church a 16th Cent. painting (Madonna enthroned with Angels and Saints), over the left hand altar, is worth attention.
The Franciscan Convent is built onto the rocky wall of a wooded mountain side, about 2 kilometers from the town. Tradition says that from 1209 St. Francis began to live on the top of Mount Lacerone overlooking Greccio, building himself a shelt between two birch trees. On this spot, a commemorative Chapel rose in 1792. One day St. Francis gave a child a lighted firebrand. He said he would choose his dwelling on the spot where the hurled firebrand fell to earth.
Miraculously, it flew thorugh the air, crossed the valley and struck the rocky where the first retreat was founded and later, during the time of St. Bonaventure, the Convent. The road leads to a clearing, beneath a flourisshing oak. Going along a narrow corridor, one reaches the Chapel of St. Luke, built out of the grotto where St. Francis, commemorating the divine mystery of the Nativity before a crowd of faithful from Greccio and the rearby towns on the night of Christmas in 1223, actually instituted what was to become the tradition of the Christmas creche.
From that time the name of this locality is known all over the world. The renown of Greccio is increased with visit of Johannes Paul II (2/1/1983).


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