THE ANGEL of Miriàm

special edition for the 25th Crib in the Well

The theme of “The Angel” is back as every five years, to mark the important anniversaries of our event, but this time, for the “silver wedding”, it did so with a memorable edition, with new animatronic characters, collateral events and an exceptional narrator: Miriàm of Nazareth.

From December 23rd 2013 to January 12th 2014 (Christmas of the Bolsena-Orvieto Eucharistic Jubilee)

Hello. My name is Miriam, but you can call me Mary. I was born more than two thousand years ago in Galilee and I was a bright, stubborn and reckless girl. Growing up, I became a decidedly unconventional teenager: while my friends dreamed of marrying a prince or to visit distant lands, I was aiming even higher; I wanted to meet an angel. I was not yet sixteen years old when my angel really came to me. I didn’t know that the angels had names; the name of my angel was Gavriel, and he asked me to give birth to the son of the Almighty. I was going to be fecundated by the wind like the flowers. I was very surprised, I thought about it a bit, and I said yes. My supremely free “yes”, so pleasing to God, sounded like a suicide in the land of men. I was betrothed to Joseph the carpenter, and his word would have been enough to get me stoned to death for adultery. I fled with my secret and I stayed for a while from my cousin Elizabeth.

Joseph was angry with me because I had not informed him immediately, and I had said yes to the angel without feeling neither his opinion nor that of my father. He was angry with Gavriel, because no angel had ever announced to a woman the birth of a child. He was angry with the Almighty, because no son of Israel ever had been conceived without a father. Gavriel appeared in a dream to Joseph, who decided to marry me and to take upon himself all the blame for the scandal of my outlawed pregnancy. The angel asked him to call his son Yeshu, which means “savior”, and said other things that Joseph has never revealed to me. I knew that Joseph would have been a good father to that son, who was mine alone. Joseph and I went to Bethlehem to register our names in the census. There my son would be born.

I was in a cave and Joseph had gone to seek help. I had to give birth alone. I was scared and I asked the Almighty not to take my son for any mission and to leave him all to me. I wanted him like any guy, I wanted him to be a bit lazy, unambitious and without strange ideas into his head. My fears disappeared when I saw Yeshu for the first time and I strongly regretted what I thought. At that time, Josef returned with Gavriel, my angel, who, shortly after announced the birth of Yeshu to the unsuspecting shepherds of Bethlehem.

«My son, be free and proud as your mother.
Do always what your heart and your soul wants and get you killed if need be, but never give up what you believe.
My soul doth of mother magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in him and gives him thanks.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me: He hath put down the mighty from their thrones of Israel and he has subverted the patriarchal hierarchies proposing to me, a young woman of Nazareth, to become the greatest accomplice in the salvation of the world.
I accepted freely and boldly, for that from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed».



  • A free and modern Miriàm: Freely inspired by the figures in the books «In the name of the Mother» by Erri De Luca and «Ave Mary – And the Church invented the woman» by Michela Murgia, the Miriàm of the 25th Nativity in the Well is all other than the humble helpless and obedient servant of Christian oleography, a witness to a mystery far above her. Without neglecting deeply human and maternal sides, our Miriàm-Mary is a real protagonist of the Gospel story and the main accomplice of the salvation of Humanity. Besides being a deeply modern and free mother.
  • The collateral events for the 25th edition: Francesco Baldini’s Nativity scene in the inner courtyard, in which the author of the first Nativity in the Well re-proposed the white stylizations he had placed at the bottom of the Pozzo della Cava 24 years earlier | Commemorative cancellation of Poste Italiane Filatelico | Prize-giving of the competition “Il Presepe in Vetrina” of the Citizen Committee of Orvieto’s Quarters | Night of words at the Nativity Scene (readings with “Portable Readers” association) | The image comes to life (Byzantine iconography workshop with the artist Fabrizio Diomedi)
  • The animatrones: for the first time, alongside the mechanical characters, two beautiful animatrones were made by Andrea Giomaro specifically for the Crib in the Well: Mary and the baby Jesus were moved by electric motors controlled by a microprocessor; the strong realism of the Nativity was highly appreciated by visitors
  • The president Boldrini: among the VIP visitors of the 25th Presepe nel Pozzo, on 31 December it was the turn of the president of the Chamber of Deputies, the Hon. Laura Boldrini who, on a private visit to the city, admired the caves and the crib for then have lunch at La Bottega del Pozzo
Crib: Concept and design – realization of characters – scenes and costumes – lights and scenic effects – press office – graphics – setting up: Marco Sciarra | animatronic – face and hand Miriàm – makeup Child: Andrea Giomaro | faces, complexions and make-up: David Bracci – Sara Catanzaro – Carlo Diamantini – Erica Buzzi – Special Makeup Studio – Creature Studios – Marco Sciarra – Francesca Montanari | animals: David Bracci – Marco Sciarra
Josèf’s dream: children of the massacre of the innocents: David Bracci – Fiorenza Biancheri – Marisa Paisio | dromedary: Sara Catanzaro | setting up: Marco Sciarra helped by Francesca Montanari, Matteo and Filippo Sciarra
Speleological set up inside the well: Marco Santopietro