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Trip Planner Europe  /  Italy  /  Basilicata  /  Province of Matera  /  Craco

Craco

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Craco is a ghost town and comune in the Province of Matera, in the southern Italian region of Basilicata.The old town was abandoned due to natural disasters. The abandonment has made Craco a tourist attraction and a popular filming location. In 2010, Craco has been included in the watch list of the World Monuments Fund.GeographyCraco is about inland from the Gulf of Taranto at the instep of the “boot” of Italy. It is typical of the hill towns of the region with mildly undulating shapes and the lands surrounding it sown with wheat. The town was built on a very steep summit for defensive reasons, giving it a stark and striking appearance and distinguishing it from the surrounding land, which is characterized by soft shapes.The centre, built on the highest side of the town, faces a ridge which runs steeply to the southwest, where newer buildings exist. The town sits atop a 400m cliff that overlooks the Cavone River valley. Throughout the area are many vegetation-less mounds called calanchi (badlands) formed by intensive erosion.HistoryAround 540 BC, 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 BC, suggesting the original settlement dates back to then. The town’s name can be dated to 1060 AD, when the land was the possession of Arnaldo, Archbishop of Tricarico, who called the area Graculum, which means in Latin "little plowed field". This long association of the Church with the town had a great influence on the inhabitants.
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