Greccio rises on a hill in the western edges of the Rieti Valley, on the border with Umbria in the high part of Lazio and almost 300 metres high compared to the valley floor. Greccio was founded, according to the tradition, by a community or a Greek family, who escaped or was exiled from its country after wars and obliterations, that decided to settle down there after falling in love with the amenities of the place and for the comfort of the natural defenses that it offered. From here came the name Grecia, Grece, Grecce and at last Greccio.
The first information about it dates back to the X-XI century, when the fragmentary properties of the Farfa Abbey were gathered together and the encastellation of manors was completed. From the ruins of the old constructions we can notice that Greccio became a fortified medieval castle surrounded by walls and protected by six fortified towers. The hamlet is encircled by beautiful oak and evergreen oak woods that offer the visitor the opportunity to experience long walks on dark and evocative paths, arriving to the peak of Monte Lacerone at 1.204 mt above the sea level. Here, Saint Francis of Assisi used to withdraw in prayer and meditation in a hut protected by two common hornbeams. In this very place, in 1792, a little commemorative chapel called "la Cappelletta", dedicated to him, was built according to the people's will.
The ancient medieval hamlet, which benefits from an excellent panorama, preserves part of the old castle flooring (around the XI century) and three of the six towers of which the older one was transformed into the Bell Tower in the XVII century. The parish church dedicated to the archangel Michael rises next to the bell tower on the top of a spectacular staircase and dates back to the XIV century.
Greccio is well known for having hosted several times Saint Francis of Assisi who, here, commemorated for the first time the representation of the Nativity scene in 1223. In everlasting memory of this event the Hermitage of Greccio Sanctuary was built, one of the four sanctuaries erected by Saint Francis in the Sacred Valley, along with Fonte Colombo, Foresta and Poggio Bustone sancturaries.