Craco

The ghost town

Craco is a historic borough of great beauty situated in the Province of Matera dating back to 1188. The origins of the borough (castle) located in the Province of Matera in Basilicata date back to the eighth century BC and early indications appear on official documents in 1188 under the name of “Graculum” (small plowed field). Probably, the village has given shelter to the Greeks of Metaponto during their transfer to the hills to escape the malaria that was flailing the plain. Subsequently, the village was also a Byzantine settlement and thanks to the Italo-Byzantine monks in the tenth century began to devote himself to agriculture.

In the fifteenth century, the village was expanding on the four palaces: Palazzo Maronna in the vicinity of the tower which dominates the town with monumental entrance in brick and balcony with terrace; Palazzo Grossi in the vicinity of the Church with portal lintel without frames. The upper floors are decorated with vaulted ceilings and decorated with floral motifs enclosed in medallions. Even today, some of windows and balconies have wrought iron railings; Palazzo Carbone of ‘400 with a monumental entrance renovated and expanded in the eighteenth century, as well as Palazzo Simonetti. Some remains of the tower are still visible, so also the Church of St. Nicholas, the Church and Convent of San Pietro and the source of Salty lake.

Skilled craftsmen from Craco

Old Craco was built with bricks and stones cut with craftsmanship on a cliff 391 meters above sea level. The village is well known for its charm, its history and scenario of important films that have been made over the years. Today it can be visited only with special guided tours as the walls are crumbling and with the proper use of protective helmets. It is part of the historical and cultural heritage of humanity.

The old town of Craco is still uninhabited due to a landslide in 1963 that slowly forced the population to flee their homes in the villages of Craco-Peschiera and Craco-Sant’Angelo. The old village (Craco Vecchio) was completely deserted in 1975. Around the village you can admire the scenery of the Badlands (geomorphological phenomenon of soil erosion). The village is enriched by multiple sources of mineral water with agricultural land with cereal crops (cereals, wheat, barley, maize, rye, rice, barley, corn and oats) and olive plantations.