The city was founded around 540 AD by Greeks. The settlement occupies a rock formation above the surrounding hills with its architecture neatly built into the landscape. Perched strategically on top of a 1,300 ft high cliff, overlooking the arid countryside of southern Italy, this ghost town once provided panoramic views and warnings of potential attackers
The population of Craco grew from 450 in 1277 to 2,590 in 1561, and averaged around 1,500 in succeeding centuries. Since Craco was built on a hill, composed of clay-rich soil of various types of clay, with different levels of drainage the terrain was highly unstable. This caused Craco to be affected by many landslides of natural origin
Surviving for over a thousand years, the town survived the plagues and its share of thieves and bandits, but finally succumbed to natural disaster when landslides occurred during the 1950s up through the early 1970s. In 1963, the last 1,800 residents were forced to leave Craco for their own safety and were relocated to a new town in the valley below just a few miles away
Today Craco is no longer accessible to the public, except by guided tour. While the town has fallen into ruin, several of the buildings, palaces and churches still remain intact with original features like shutters, railings, and frescoes serving as a reminder of the life that once existed within the walls
Thanks to the dramatic landscape and unique atmosphere, Craco has been the set of many movies including Saving Grace, James Bond Quantum of Solace and the hanging of Judas scene in Mel Gibson’s the Passion of the Christ. In 2010, it was added to the Watch List by the World Monuments Fund
Visit this spectacular place in our tour "Puglia & Basilicata", where you will not only explore the ghost town of Craco, but also the Greek ruins of Metaponto and the medieval villages of Basilicata Read more..