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Italy’s Ghost Town: Craco

Why should you visit one of the world’s top 10 abandoned cities?

Abandoned and almost apocalyptic, the Italian town of Craco has long been fodder for filmmakers, travelers and theorists. Like the former gold rush towns of California and the cities surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site is an eerie reminder of what remains after large-scale population loss and begs the question of just how a place can go from a flourishing settlement to a ghost town.


Image: Luca Roccotiello, Flickr

Craco is located about 25 miles inland from the Gulf of Taranto at the instep of Italy’s “boot.” The medieval town dates back to 1060 when it was owned by the Archbishop of Tricarico. Over the years poor agricultural conditions, earthquakes, landslides and war slowly eroded the town’s population and led to its mass migration. By 1963, the remaining 1,800 inhabitants were relocated to a nearby valley, leaving Craco in its current state of crumbling decay.

Due to its barren and bizarre landscape, the site has acted as film set for heros such as James Bond and Jesus Christ. The Passion of The Christ, King David, Saving Grace and Quantum of Solace are just some of the movies that have been set in Craco. From its crumbling façades to the grass that has overtaken the foundations of what were once homes, it's a place where time stands still. Included on many a list of “Top 10 Ghost Towns,” this little known Italian destination is a unique travel experience when taking a tour of Italy.

The town of Craco is just one of the stops on the Sole, Mare e Vino: Italy Escorted Journey, a historical, cultural and culinary exploration from Travcoa. 

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Topics: Italy