Craco, a Hauntingly Beautiful Ghost Town on the Hilltop

Craco, A Hauntingly Beautiful Ghost Town on the Hilltop

Craco is known as a ghost town in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, in the province of Matera, near the Gulf of Taranto.

Perched atop a steep hill, the town enjoys a commanding position that affords panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Moreover, the total area of Craco spans approximately 40 km2, encompassing the historic town center and its immediate surroundings.

However, it’s essential to note that a significant portion of the town has been abandoned. The unique atmosphere of ghostly streets and frozen structures contributes to Craco’s allure.

Read also: White Sands National Park, the World’s Largest Gypsum Dune Field

The Varied Landscape of Craco

Craco’s natural landscape is marked by the contrast between rugged, rocky terrain and the lush greenery that surrounds it.

Furthermore, olive groves and vineyards dot the landscape, showcasing the agricultural traditions that have shaped the region for centuries.

The nearby Cavone River further enhances the natural beauty of the area, adding a dynamic element to the overall scenery.

Population Shift and Abandonment

As for the population, Craco’s history reflects a shift from a once-thriving community to its present state of abandonment.

The last residents left in the 1960s due to geological challenges and the risks associated with the town’s location.

Today, the population is essentially nonexistent. Craco serves as a poignant reminder of transient human habitation amid natural forces and changing landscapes.

A Cinematic Backdrop

Craco’s evocative atmosphere and abandoned charm have not gone unnoticed by the film industry.

The haunting beauty of the town, a backdrop for films like “The Passion of the Christ” and James Bond’s “Quantum of Solace,” captivates.

Indeed, these cinematic appearances have brought international attention to Craco, drawing many people eager to explore its eerie, otherworldly ambiance.

A Series of Challenges in Craco

However, Craco’s fortunes took a turn for the worse in the mid-20th century.

A series of landslides, earthquakes, and poor agricultural practices rendered the town increasingly uninhabitable.

Therefore, the once-thriving community was forced to abandon its homes and seek refuge in more stable areas.

By the 1960s, the last residents had left Craco, leaving behind a ghost town frozen in time.

Read also: Castellfollit de la Roca, a Narrow City Above a Cliff

A Historical Tapestry

Craco’s history traces back to ancient times, with evidence of habitation dating to the 8th century BC.

Over the centuries, the town evolved, experiencing Roman, Byzantine, Lombard, and Norman influences.

Meanwhile, its strategic hilltop location made it a coveted prize for various rulers throughout history.

Flourishing in the medieval era, Craco was a vibrant, bustling community, marking one of its most notable periods.

For example, its architecture bore witness to this prosperity, with the construction of impressive structures such as the Norman Tower, the Church of San Nicola, and the Palazzo Maronna.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *