Craco Italy: Unveiling the Haunting Beauty and History of the Abandoned Ghost Town

Explore the picturesque province of Basilicata, home to the mysterious abandoned town of
Craco Italy. Craco was a prosperous community before landslides, floods, and the 1980 Irpinia
earthquake destroyed it. Despite the city’s desolation, Craco’s rich history and eerie beauty
have made it a popular tourist destination. 
This article will provide a detailed guide on how to reach the haunting yet beautiful location of
Craco, as well as a look into its intriguing history and the reasons for its abandonment. Come
with us as we discover the history of Craco Italy, and learn why it seems to be stopped in time.

Where Is Craco Italy Located?

The Italian city of Craco is situated in the southern Basilicata province of Matera. Craco is
placed on a steep summit, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) inland from the Gulf of Taranto, and
has a distinctive and stunning look. The town’s vantage point above the Cavone River valley, at
a height of 400 m (1,300 ft), is breathtaking. 
Craco was abandoned in the late 20th century because of structural problems that led to a
landslide, but it has since gained notoriety as a popular tourist destination and shooting
location. Its distinctive terrain, marked by eroding calanchi mounds, enhances its

History Of Craco Italy

Craco Italy

The history of Craco Italy, is lengthy and diversified, spanning several centuries. With the
finding of old graves, it has been possible to date the beginnings of human settlement in the
area to the 8th century BC. Greek immigrants from the seaside town of Metaponto moved
inland and settled in the area around 540 BC.
When Arnaldo, Archbishop of Tricarico, acquired the land in 1060 AD, he gave it the Latin name
Graculum, which translates as “little plowed field” in English. This was the start of a lengthy
relationship between the Church and the town that significantly impacted its residents.
Power changed hands in Craco during the Middle Ages. A lord named Eberto, most possibly of
Norman descent took possession of the hamlet and imposed feudal authority between 1154
and 1168. Roberto of Pietrapertosa subsequently took over as Craco’s landlord in 1179.

Frederick II’s reign saw Craco develop into a significant military hub, with Lombard prisoners
who had opposed the Holy Roman Emperor being held in the Castle Tower.
In Craco, a university was founded in 1276, aiding in the expansion and improvement of the
community. Over the decades, the population grew steadily, peaking at 2,590 in 1561. Four
sizable palazzi, the Palazzo Maronna close to the tower, the Palazzo Grossi close to the main
Church, the Palazzo Carbone on the Rigirones property, and the Palazzo Simonetti were
notable architectural landmarks during this period.
A terrible plague outbreak struck Craco in 1656, which led to a considerable death toll and a
decrease in the town’s population of families. With the declaration of the Parthenopean
Republic in 1799, the local populace rose up in revolt against the Bourbon feudal order.
However, the Holy Faith army put down their republican uprising, and the Bourbon monarchy
once more ruled Craco.
In the years that followed, Craco underwent changes in government, first coming under
Napoleonic rule and then coming under attack from gangs of brigands who the exiled Bourbon
government aided. The town was divided into two districts: Quarter della Chiesa Madre, next to
the Church of San Nicola, and Torrevecchia, the higher section close to the castle and tower.
Craco faced some difficulties once Italy became one country in 1861. Between 1892 and 1922,
around 1,300 Crachesi immigrated to North America due to poor agricultural conditions. The
town experienced geological and environmental challenges, including landslides, which forced
Craco’s departure in 1963. The population moved to the Craco Peschiera Valley.
A flood in 1972 made the situation even worse and prevented the historic core from
repopulating. The terrible Irpinia earthquake of 1980 effectively cemented the abandonment of
the historic site of Craco.
The “Craco Society” was established by the emigrants from Craco’s descendants in the United
States in 2007. By preserving the comune’s history, culture, and customs, these non-profits hope
to safeguard Craco’s memory for the coming generations.

Why Was Craco Italy Abandoned?

Craco Italy

Due to a confluence of environmental and geological issues that rendered Craco, Italy,
uninhabitable, the city was abandoned. The leading cause of the abandonment was a string of
landslides in the city in 1963 which caused its population to flee. These landslides are said to
have been brought on by the development of infrastructure, such as sewage and water
systems, which interfered with the natural stability of the soil.
The terrible agricultural circumstances further exacerbated the hardships endured by the
people of Craco. Due to the poor agricultural environment, around 1,300 Crachesi immigrated

to North America between 1892 and 1922 in search of better possibilities. Landslides’ effects on
agricultural difficulties made it harder for locals to live comfortably.
The devastating floods of 1972 added these environmental and economic variables to worsen
matters. The flood worsened the infrastructure and made Craco’s historic center impossible to
After the 1980 Irpinia earthquake, the historic Krakow site was ultimately completely
abandoned because of these environmental risks, geological instability, poor agricultural
conditions, and destructive floods. Despite being deserted, Craco piques tourists’ curiosity and
imaginations as a menacing and evocative reminder of its affluent past.

Does Anyone Live in Craco?

Craco Italy

Craco is still deserted and has no long-term residents now. Following a string of landslides in
1963, a disastrous flood in 1972, and an earthquake in Irpinia in 1980, Craco was abandoned.
Due to these environmental and geological issues, it was dangerous to live in the city.
The former population of Craco was relocated to the nearby Craco Peschira Valley when the
town was evacuated. The new communities offered a more secure and safe place to live away
from the old metropolis’s dangers.
Despite not having a permanent population, Craco attracts tourists and travelers worldwide
because of its attractive surroundings. Because of its eerie beauty and fascinating past, Craco is
a well-liked location for sightseeing, photography, and cultural tourism. To preserve the cultural
legacy and history of the commune, the “Craco Society” was established by the immigrants’
descendants in the United States.
Even though Craco is currently desolate, the memories and tales of its former residents and
initiatives to preserve its history ensure that the city’s spirit endures.

How To Get To Craco Italy: Step By Step Guide

Going to Craco, Italy, and discover its intriguing ruins and past, take the following steps:

  1. Plan your trip: Determine the ideal time to visit Craco and make the appropriate lodging
    and travel arrangements.
  2. Select your flight’s arrival airport: Bari Karol Wojtya and Brindisi-Salento are closest to
    Craco. You might consider flying into one of these airports depending on your location and
    airline schedules.
  3. Hire a car: Renting a car is the best way to get to Craco because it gives you freedom and
    convenience when exploring the region. The airport and some car rental companies in the
    adjacent cities both offer car rentals.
  4. Drive from the airport:  Head south on the SS96 toward Matera from Bari Karol Wojtya
    Airport. After continuing the SS7, turn onto the SP107 and head toward Craco. It takes about
    one hour and thirty minutes to drive. Take the SS7 and SP104 roads toward Matera and the
    SP107 road to Craco if you travel from Brindisi-Salento Airport. It takes about two hours to
  5. Public transportation alternative: Matera Centrale, the closest train station to Craco, can
    be reached by train from Bari Centrale or Brindisi Centrale. To go to Craco from Matera, you
    can take a cab or hire a local tour guide.
  6. Guided tours: Consider enrolling for a trip that includes Craco in its schedule. This can offer
    a handy method to tour the area with a knowledgeable guide who can share insights into the
    town’s significance and history.
  7. Arrival in Craco: After reaching Craco, leave your vehicle in the appropriate parking space
    and explore the deserted town on foot. Take your time exploring the ruins, winding through the
    winding streets, and taking in the breathtaking panoramic views of the area.
    Craco is a protected site; check the visiting hours and any entrance restrictions. Enjoy your trip
    and immerse yourself in this amazing ghost town’s eerie beauty and fascinating history.


In conclusion, the intriguing ghost town of Craco Italy, which is located in the Basilicata region
of Matera, is open to tourists. Environmental and geological difficulties, such as landslides,
floods, and the disastrous Irpinia earthquake in 1980, led to the town’s abandonment. 
Craco continues to draw tourists despite being abandoned due to its eerie beauty and
fascinating history. Flying into Bari Karol Wojtya Airport or Brindisi-Salento Airport and renting a
car are the preferred ways to get to Craco. A taxi or local guide can also be arranged after
taking the train to Matera Centrale. A complex history, including Greek settlement, feudal
domination, and political upheaval, characterizes Craco’s past. 
The plague outbreak of 1656 and immigration due to subpar agricultural circumstances were
two difficulties the town had to deal with. Craco is still a ghost town today. Yet, it is a
fascinating location for cultural tourism. Visitors can experience Craco Italy’s eerie beauty and
fascinating history by taking the right precautions, such as arranging the trip, picking the arrival
airport, renting a car, and touring the town on foot.

Can I visit Craco?

Yes, tourists are welcome to travel to Craco. The village is accessible to the public for
investigation and guided excursions even though it is vacant and empty. Visitors can see this
historic ghost town’s mysterious beauty and fascinating history.

Why Craco is called Ghost Town?

Because of its condition of abandonment, Craco is frequently referred to as a ghost town. After
numerous landslides, a disastrous flood, and the 1980 Irpinia earthquake, which made it unsafe
for residents to stay there, the town was evacuated and left desolate. Craco has a foreboding,
haunting aura because of its deserted streets and crumbling structures.

How do you get to Craco, Italy?

It is advised to travel to either Bari Karol Wojtya Airport or Brindisi-Salento Airport to get to
Craco, Italy. The easiest way to get to Craco from the airport is to rent a car. From the airports,
the drive takes between 1.5 and 2 hours. Another option is to take the train to Matera Centrale,
where you can then hire a cab or a local tour guide to get to Craco.

When was Craco Italy made?

Craco, Italy, was gradually abandoned beginning in 1963. The town saw numerous landslides, a
disastrous flood in 1972, and the damaging Irpinia earthquake in 1980. These incidents caused
Craco, an ancient site, is to be entirely evacuated and abandoned.

Is Craco cursed?

Craco is not officially considered cursed. Landslides and the 1980 Irpinia earthquake were just
two environmental and geological issues that led to Craco’s abandonment. Although the town’s
past is characterized by tragedy and adversity, natural calamities rather than supernatural
curses are to blame. Visitors are still mesmerized by Craco’s eerie beauty, which also serves as a
reminder of the town’s prosperous past.

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