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Craco Photo Gallery

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Craco is a commune and medieval village located in the Region of Basilicata and the Province of Matera in Italy. About 25 miles inland from the Gulf of Taranto at the instep of the “boot” of Italy. The medieval village of Craco is typical of the hill towns of the region with mildly undulating shapes and the lands surrounding it sown with wheat.

Craco was built on a very steep summit, for defensive reasons, giving it a stark and striking appearance and distinguishing it from the surrounding lands which are characterized by soft shapes. The centre, built on the highest side of the town, facing a ridge runs steeply to the southwest where newer buildings exist. The town sits atop a 400 metre high cliff that overlooks the Cavone River valley. Throughout the area are many unique vegetation-less mounds formed by intensive erosion that are called "calanchi."

Around 540AD 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 suggesting the original settlement dates back to then. The town’s name can be dated to 1060 when the land was the possession of Archbishop Arnaldo, Bishop of Tricarico, who called the area “GRACHIUM” which means "from the little plowed field." This long association of the Church with the town had a great influence on the inhabitants.

From 1154-1168 the control of the village passed to Eberto who established the first feudal control over the town. Then in 1179, Roberto di Pietrapertos became the landlord of Craco. In 1276 a university was established in town. During this period in the 13th century the landmark castle was built under the direction of Attendolo Sforza. In 1293 under Federico II, the Castle Tower became a prison. By the 15th century, four large plazas had developed in the town: Palazzo Maronna near the tower, Palazzo Grossi near the big church, Palazzo Carbone on the Rigirones property, and Palazzo Simonetti.
   

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