Craco is a scenic ghost town in Italy’s region of Basilicata, which is approximately 40 kilometers from the Gulf of Taranto. The town sits in the middle of the Lucanian badlands, and the Norman Tower, was built in 1000 A.D is the oldest monument.
Archbishop Arnaldo, the Bishop of Tricario owned the land in 1060 A.D according to historical records. Between 1154 and 1168, Erberto, who established the village’s feudal control, took control of the village. In 1179, Roberto di Pietrapertos took charge of the town and established the first ever university.
Between 1277 and 1561 A.D, the population grew from a mere 450 people to 2,590, and a permanent monastic order was established after the construction of the St Peter’s Monastery. The monks helped increase agricultural production through religion and science. A large portion of the population was eliminated by a plague in 1621 and a famine that drove its inhabitants out of the town due to poor agricultural practices.
The Historic Norman Tower
The tower perched atop the ridge of rolling hills was used as a scouting outpost in Norman times. Since the town took shape from being a mere village, the Norman Tower has been used for various purposes, the most memorable being a prison under the rule of Federico in year 1293 A.D. It has survived earthquakes and landslides and remains the most prominent historical feature in Craco.
In 2010, the local authorities began a restoration process on the town of Craco and the Norman Tower. Today, it attracts thousands of visitors a year. The town also has medieval churches that were the focal point of Craco’s community and it has six religious festivals held in May and October.