2022-2023 edition [33rd year]

archive of past editions

themes, photos and curiosities of past editions

The Nativity in the Well

the original underground crib of the Pozzo della Cava with life-size animated characters

The fascinating setting

The idea is a simple one: to recreate the environment and the atmospheres of Palestine in the year zero with life-size animated characters. And we do this in the big Etruscan cave at the end of the underground archaeological itinerary of Pozzo della Cava, in the Medieval Quarter of Orvieto.

Historical research

Every year costumes, furnishings and elements of scenery are made as closely as possible to the originals in the time of Christ, and every year it’s a new challenge, with a new layout and a new leitmotif, with a careful eye for the visitor of the Christmas Crib, who is physically inside the crib.

The characters

The realistic characters of this unusual under-ground Crib are life-size self-moving figures, made with the materials and techniques of special effects employed in the theatres and movies.

The movements

And then we add to our characters the movements, with hidden low-tension mechanisms. From the 2013-2014 edition, in addition to the mechanical characters, some animatroni have been inserted on the scene, whose motors are driven by special integrated microprocessors, to increase the naturalness of the movements. Furthermore, the lights and other “special effects” such as fires, burning embers, smoke or boiling milk contribute to increasing the realism of the nativity scene, alternating and renewing in every setting.

Nativity in the Well


After the very lucky (Covid excluded) and very welcome five-year period of the Witnesses, a new narrative cycle is inaugurated this year: the EXCLUDED The 33rd edition is entitled "THE FOURTH WISE MAN" and features Artaban, the fourth wise who did not manage to arrive in time to see the Child King

From 23 December 2022 to 8 January 2023

The event is part of "Museums' Net for Territory" project, created with the contribution of the Umbria Region

With the patronage of Umbria Region and Municipality of Orvieto