Craco, Basilicata’s ghost-town and my father’s stories. Surrounded by the ravines and canyons of Basilicata, Craco is a ghost-town out of time. It has a dramatic yet mysterious beauty.
Craco started changing into a ghost-town in 1963 when an enormous landslide wiped out part of the town.
I remember the stories of my father, Giuseppe Catalani, who was surveyor and worked for the civil engineering department of Matera. Craco was a risky area and it was under his own responsibility.
In those days he would not come home to Matera and used to sleep in Craco to monitor the situation. There were no hotels so they arranged for him a quick accommodation in the municipal offices. Thanks to him the town has been evacuated before the landslide and there have been no casualties.
Craco was an old medieval village, an important strategic centre during the Norman period and it became a university location in 1276. According to a legend, Saint Vincent arrived to Craco wounded, returning from the Crusades in the Holy Land together with Saint Maurice. Instead, it is real history the execution of some twenty brigands in front of the bell tower of the main church during the post-unification revolts.
Since 2010 has been inserted in the list of places to protect by the World Monuments Funds. For its unique atmosphere Craco has been chosen as a natural set by many film directors:
- “Il Vangelo secondo Matteo” by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1964);
- “Cristo si è fermato ad Eboli” by Francesco Rosi (1979),
- “King David” by Bruce Beresford (1985)
- “The Passion of Christ” by Mel Gibson (2004)
- “007 – Quantum of Solace” by Marc Forster (2008)
- “Basilicata coast to coast” by Rocco Papaleo (2010)
- “Wonder Woman” by Patti Jenkins (2017)
We will surely be visiting Craco during our trip and we will be walking with an expert guide that will show us the abandoned houses, the ruins of the cinema, the bell tower and Norman tower and will tell us incredible stories about this ghost-town.
Would you like to visit the ghost town of Craco? With our Exclusive Basilicata Tour you can! The 6th day will lead you to this uninhabited village, lost in the countryside.