Craco, the fascinating ghost town

In Basilicata, on a hill located in the province of Matera, you can visit a very interesting ghost town: old Craco.

A charming place that was used as set for many movies also international such as, to name one, The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson in 2004.

Its particular name comes from the Latin Graculum, that is small plowed field.

Background of Craco.

Craco_foto2The exact period of its establishment is unknown, but there were found tombs that date back to VIII century BC.

Very probably also the Greek colonists of Metaponto settled there, perhaps to escape a plague that went out into the plain.

Then later in Craco came the Byzantines who in the tenth century, thanks to the Italian-Byzantine monks, developed agriculture making thereby the area a place of urban grouping.

The structure of the ancient village dates back to the Middle Ages, between 1150 and 1160, there is a square tower placed in the center and all around the perched houses.

Craco_foto3As it can be understood from the tower overlooking the valley of the two rivers flowing parallel, the Agri and the Cavone, Craco during the reign of Frederick II was a very important strategic military center.

In fact the tower of Craco served as defensive barrier because it was easy to spot the enemy.

Craco became the seat of a University in 1276. While in the fifteenth century there was an important urban expansion that focused on four buildings:

  • Palace Carbone
  • Palazzo Grossi
  • Palace Maronna
  • Palazzo Simonetti

In 1799 there were revolutionary movements, some clashes between the movement of the “rural bourgeoisie” (revolutionary movement of the Neapolitan Republic) and the feudal system. Revolt that in Craco was then put down in blood at Palazzo Carbone. Furthermore also in Craco there was brigandage.

The ghost town.

Craco_foto1Old Craco has become a ghost town, first due to a large landslide occurred in 1963 and later, in 1972, a flood and finally the earthquake of 1980 that decreed the complete abandonment.

Craco is a fascinating ghost town that offers an evocative journey between past and present.

It’s possible to visit through a path of guided visit that crosses a secured tour itinerary.

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