Basilicata Craco

Basilicata Craco

Basilicata Craco - The Ghost Town province of Matera - Italy Craco is a commune and medieval village located in the Region of Basilicata and the Province of Matera, about 25 miles inland from the Gulf of Taranto at the instep of the “boot” of Italy.  The medieval village of Craco is typical of the hill towns of the region with mildly undulating shapes and the lands surrounding it sown with wheat. Around 540AD the area was called “Montedoro” and inhabited by Greeks who moved inland from the coastal town of Metaponto. Tombs have been found dating from the 8th century suggesting the original settlement dates back to then. Today, earthquakes, landslides, and a lack of fertile farming land have contributed to the abandonment of Craco.From 1154-1168 the village first saw feudal rule under Eberto.  In 1179, Roberto di Pietrapertos became the ruler of Craco. By 1276, a university had been established in town. It was during this period in the 13th century that the landmark castle was built under the direction of Attendolo Sforza.  In 1293 under Federico II, the Castle Tower became a prison and by the 15th century the town had grown and had four large plazas.The population grew from 450 in 1277 to 2,590 in 1561, and averaged around 1,500 in succeeding centuries. A plague struck in 1656, killing  hundreds and reducing the population significantly. By 1799 there was enough impetus to change the feudal system and an independent municipality was established. In 1815 it was decided the town was large enough to divide into two separate districts.

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