The Holy Family in the Well

The Nativity in the Weell
The edition of the Nativity in the Well scheduled for the 2020-2021 holidays has been postponed due to the Covid-19 emergency.
The last crib of the cycle of the Witnesses is therefore postponed and the whole narrative has taken a break.
In its place, a symbolic Nativity was created, with olny tue Holy Famiy placed right inside the Pozzo della Cava and visible directly from the street, without having to enter the caves.
The speleological set-up was carried out by the Team B Tree Climbing .
Next to the external opening of the well, then, to pay homage to the Child, the figures of the Magi were placed with “renewed” gifts that caused much discussion.


From December 23, 2020 to January 6, 2021

[The event was part of “Museums’ Net for our Territory”, the project for the enhancement of museums and monuments in the Orvieto area carried out with the contribution of the Umbria Region]

We were ready to surprise our visitors also for Christmas 2020. Then the Covid-19 emergency forced us to limit ourselves to a small symbolic Holy Family inside the Pozzo della Cava.
No setting up in the caves, therefore, nor moving characters, but only a young family who remarries, both to give a sign of peace and to underline that this was only a pause in the serie of the Nativities in the Well.
Next to the stone ring, at the entrance to the caves, then, the Wise Men arrived, with their “renewed” gifts:
– incense, a symbol of divinity (Jesus is God), burned on the altars so that the smells could reach the divine breath, was placed side by side with the masks, which confine the breath to avoid contagion;
– myrrh, symbol of humanity (Jesus is man), with which the body of the deceased was sprinkled before burial, was combined with the disinfectant gel, which causes the death of the virus and prevents contagion;
– gold, which symbolizes royalty (Jesus is king), so precious that it is destined only for the top of society, was associated with the vaccine, with the hope that it could reach everyone, like the gold of the Wise Men that came given to the humblest of children.


  • The pandemic: due to the Covid-19 emergency, the Holy Family could be observed directly from Via della Cava, as all museums and monuments were closed by decree; moreover, in agreement with the Municipality of Orvieto, the Civil Protection and the Police Station, to avoid any risk of crowding, a waiting area was also set up on the opposite side of the street, in front of the Church of the Madonna della Cava.
  • The controversy: the choice to represent the Wise Men with masks and protective screens and to combine their gifts with the medical aids for Covid-19 has sparked some small and sterile controversy on the part of “VIPs” like Alessandro Meluzzi (for whom our crib would have been set up inside the Duomo!), Silvana De Mari (who argued that a vaccine made with aborted fetal cells could not be combined with Christmas!) and Diego Fusaro (for whom we were agents of some planetary pharmaceutical conspiracy!)
  • The media return: never as in this non-edition had so many newspapers interested in our event been registered, bringing our Nativity to the fore of the main Italian and international newspapers, from France to Greece, from Spain to Korea, up to the prestigious The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Washington Post (which chose the photo made by ANSA of our Wise Men as one of the symbolic images of Christmas 2020), managing to count Orvieto among the prominent destinations of the 2020-2021 holidays all over the world