Ghost towns from Italy: Craco

Placed on the summit of a hill overlooking the Cavone valley, in the region of Basilicata, Craco looks like a small-scale copy of the nearby Matera.
The ancient settlement, which reached a population of 2000, formed on the highest peak of this almost 7 million years old clayey valley. The settlement known as “Graculum”, which in Latin means “small ploughed field”, is documented for the first time in 1060 a.D., but the structure of the village actually dates to a period between 1154 and 1168. Thanks to its position, Craco became a strategically important military centre during the reign of Federico II.
During the XV century the city expanded around the four main palaces: the Maronna Palace with its monumental entrance, the Grossi Palace, with its beautiful vault and floreal pattern, the Carbone Palace, with its XV century monumental entrance, and the Simonetti Palace, with its peculiar medallions. 
In 1799 Craco joined Innocenzo De Cesare’s republican ideals, a movement of the rural middle class which sought to break the ties with the feudal lords, and then fell into silence, until a last, tragic event in 1963…
A large landslide destroyed part of the town, forcing the villagers to progressively leave their homes. The 1972 flood gave another hard blow, and the town slid some more along with the containment walls that were supposed to hold it up. Not everyone was willing to leave the town behind, and some remained there until the day they died.
Today, Craco isn’t sliding anymore and is constantly monitored. Its almost supernatural charms recalls its past glory, its ephemeral beauty seems almost an illusion
Nature is slowly overtaking the town, a town still hiding mysteries and stories about ghosts claiming back their homes in the darkest nights. Some claim they heard harrowing screams and footsteps sounds, or saw dim lights behind the desolating void of an empty window.
Craco’s word-wide fame led it to a fate that it probably would never have imagined, that of a much sought cinema set. Many films were shot here, like Christ stopped at Eboli, King David, Terra Bruciata, Quantum of Solace, and even The Passion, where it was used as the background of Judas’s hanging.
At times Craco is visited by some tourists, attracted by its charm and by the mystery of abandon… unfortunately, though, the place’s politics are aimed towards its economic exploitation and not towards its artistic and cultural promotion, so tourists are charged to enter the village, and are imposed a fine if they don’t pay. This policy of pure economic exploitation stopped us from creating a Ghost Town episode about this beautiful, solitary and silent village…
Image gallery on ORIGINAL POST 

(Translation by Marco Salvadori)

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