Greccio is an old hilltown and comune of the province of Rieti in the Italian region of Lazio, overhanging the Velino river on a spur of the Monti Sabini, a sub-range of the Apennines, about 16 kilometres (10 miles) by road northwest of Rieti, the nearest large town.
Greccio was founded, according to tradition, as a Greek colony.
The earliest records date back to the Tenth and Eleventh centuries. The Benedictine Monk, Gregory of Catino (1062-1133) refers to the town of Greccio (curte de Greccia) in his work “Summary Farfense”. From the remains of the ancient buildings it shows that Greccio became a fortified medieval castle surrounded by walls and protected by six towers fortress.
Greccio was the place where, in December 1223, St. Francis devised the first living crib. The tradition continues there to this day, and a memorial of St. Francis, the Santuario di S. Francesco, may be visited.