Craco is a charming village in Basilicata, perched on a hill about 400 meters above sea level. 50 kilometers away from Matera, has been abandoned since 1963, when a series of landslides caused the houses to collapse, forcing the inhabitants to abandon it to take refuge in a nearby town. Some of them, however, chose to stay, despite the enormous difficulties, but the flood of 1972 first and the earthquake of 1980 then forced them to leave.

Craco, panorama

Since then, Craco has been a ghost village, appearing in its complete desolation among the arid and degrading sides of the gullies. They hover around it mysterious legends which further increase its undeniable charm, enchanting visitors from all over the world.

The origins

Craco was founded in the 8th century BC by the Greeks. In the 10th century the village was inhabited by Byzantine monks who dedicated themselves to agriculture. In the Middle Ages, it became a powerful local stronghold, due to its strategic position, at the top of the hill, dominated by the Norman tower, which can still be visited today. Its ancient paved streets, stone houses, internal courtyards and panoramic terraces offer a glimpse of daily life that seems suspended in time.


Access to the site is permitted via a pass issued by the municipal administration of the new municipality (Craco Peschiera). Visitors are accompanied by an authorized guide and are required to wear a protective helmet.

Movie set

Today, Craco is a thrilling spectacle of ruined buildings that stand the test of time. The village has been used as a set for numerous films, including "The Passion of the Christ" by Mel Gibson and "The Nativity Story" by Catherine Hardwicke, which made it famous throughout the world.

Craco, passion

The evocative and melancholy atmosphere of Craco captures the imagination and arouses contrasting emotions, from sadness at the decadence of the town to wonder at its timeless beauty. The village has been included in the list of sites to be safeguarded from World Monuments Fund.

Craco, view

Uncontaminated charm

Craco retains an uncontaminated charm that makes it a place to absolutely visit. Walking through the historic center, you can admire what remains of the Mother Church of San Nicola, dating back to the 14th century, which contains the mummified body of a saint; The Song book, an ancient tavern run by an alleged witch; the Norman Tower; the medieval city walls, the noble buildings (Palazzo Maronna, Palazzo Carbone, Palazzo Grossi, Palazzo Simonetti); the Monastery of San Pietro. The village has become one of the symbols of Basilicata, an unmissable destination for lovers of history and untouched and timeless natural landscapes.

(Photo: Municipality of Craco, Facebook page)

Craco, the mysterious ghost village in Basilicata last edit: 2024-04-16T15:47:03+02:00 da Antonietta Malito

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