Basilicata is a region most tourists have never heard of, or at least won’t have the time to visit. The only exception might be the presence of Matera, precious town situated in a canyon carved by the river Gravina and part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Well, if you have the chance to visit Matera, you only need to proceed 60 kms more and you can suddenly find yourself in the middle of nowhere, far away from civilization. So you are in Craco.
Craco, this abandoned town was built on a rock above the Cavone-valley and hence it is absolutely different from the friendly hills embracing it.
It has been inhabited since the 8th century, its first inhabitants were Greek colonists living on the coast of Metaponto, fleeing from Malaria to the inland. Thez called it Motedoro and became Graculum (Latin version of Craco) only later. During the reign of Frederick II. it became an important military center and its importance kept growing so much that in the Middle Ages it also had its own University.
Craco’s delcine started in the end of the 19th century when more than 1300 Crachese people migrated to North America. This situation got more serious following a landslide in 1963 when inhabitants were evacuated and moved to safer locations. It’s quite ironic that this landslide was caused by public works aimed to develop the town’s infrastructure. In 1972 a flood made impossible the repopulation of the historic centre which became completely desert after the earthquake of 1980. The abandonment has made Craco a tourist attraction and a popular filming location. In 2010, Craco has been included in the watch list of the World Monuments Fund.
Lately more and more visitors discover Craco thanks to its misterious history, the legends about its Normann tower, palaces anc chucrches. One of these legends tells the story of the restaurantf of the Canzoniere district. It’s about the beautiful woman running this restaurant, seducing the guests and preparing vinegar (!!!) of them. Delicious.
You can now visit Craco, but will need to book an appointment and go exclusively with an authorized tour guide due to security purposes and to prevent visitors to deterior the ruins. Come on, let’s go to Craco!
More information on how to visit this ghost town can be found here.