A sorrowful and evocative village of ancient origin, Craco
rises like a ghost on the summit of a hill which dominates
the Cavone Valley.
A centre with pre-Roman origins which flourished between
the VIII and VI centuries BC. Some tombs have been uncovered
in the district of S. Angelo.
Not much is known from ancient times. The first concrete information
regarding the existence of Graculum or Cracum date back to
the period of Norman conquest of Basilicata and Southern Italy
(XI century). In 1060 it was registered as being among Archbishop
Arnaldo di Tricarico’s properties. An ecclesiastical
presence suggests that the re-population of the hill on which
the ancient pre-Roman centre was positioned, was carried out
by Basilian monks during the X century.
Under the Normans, it was assigned to Erberto (1154-1168)
and Roberto of Pietrapertosa (1176-1179). Under the Swabians
it was assigned to Goffredo (1239). During this era, the Castle
on the summit of the hill already existed.
With the ascension to the throne of Carlo I of Angiò
(1268), Craco was given in fief to Pietro de Beaumont. Following
this, the most powerful families of the Medieval period were
given Craco in fief: the Monforte (until the end of the XIII
century), the Del Balzo, the Sforza (XV century) and the Sanseverino
In 1799, the population adhered to Republican ideals, rising
up against the power of the nobility who were feudatories,
but the rebellion was repressed in blood by the troops of
The year 1963, saw the beginning of landslides which caused
many dwellings to collapse. Sadly, the population had to transfer
to another location, leaving Craco completely abandoned in
A visit to the City
Those wishing to visit Craco, should expect a moving and
desolating experience. One can walk through the ruins of houses,
along abandoned paths and admire nobiliary buildings. It’s
possible to walk up to the Castle’s tower on the summit
of the village, then descend and visit the Parochial of San
Nicola where one can admire the view to console oneself a
little. All this without once meeting another live soul. It
seems however, that Craco still has an inhabitant who resists
the terrible blow inflicted by the landslide.
For its evocative strength, the image of Craco has been used
over the years in various films as a background setting; the
last being the Passion of Christ by Mel Gibson.
Place of interest
The Castle ruins; Palazzo Grossi; Palazzo Carbone; Palazzo
Simonetti; Palazzo Madonna; Parochial of San Nicola; San Pietro
Church and Convent; Lake Salso Spring.