The first written document was dated around 1060 from a bubble of Arnaldo, a Bishop of Tricarico, to the priests and the community of Craco. However, archaeological researches tracing the origin of Human settlements, trace far back from the Iron Age (VIII-IX century b.C). The oldest building is the Norman tower, built (about 1040 a.C), which is visible from the surrounding area like the valley of Salandrella, the Ionian coast, Mount Pollino and all its neighbors. A legend tells that Craco in the beginning was called Monte D’Oro. In reality, Craco, in ancient times, was called Grachium, the Latin word which means, recent plowing field. Craco is crossed by only a river, the Cavone. Craco was a Head office of one of the 78 universities in the jurisdiction of Basilicata, Craco contributed financially to the maintenance costs of the castles already begun by Frederick II and continued by the Angioini. Throughout the course of the sixteenth century, Craco was highly increased in population. This is what emerges from family taxation, where the fiscal fires passed from 362 in 1521, from maximum peak of 518 in 1561 with 2590 inhabitants. In the last three years of the French Government (1813-1815), the population of Craco stood at 1.760/1.770 inhabitant. The Census in those years was always negative because of high infant mortality. The majority of the population, as mentioned earlier, was devoted to agriculture, livestock and its related activity, but there was also a considerable number of artisans and some professionals (doctors, notaries). The clergies in 1815 numbered up to sixteen, while eighteen were the monks in the monastery of St. Peter, built in 1630 by Baroni Penna of Amendolara. In 1881 the population exceeded the threshold of 2,000 inhabitants. Towards the end of the nineteenth century the city limits had reached its maximum expansion. There were several palaces in various parts of the town. The most famous which is still in the memory of our elders, were the building Rigirone, Cammarota, Simonetti, Grossi, Miadonna, and the Carbone palace. In addition to these noble palaces, a particular architectural beauty were public buildings like the town hall, schools, cinema and shops. Today everything has slide along. Among the monuments the most important was undoubtedly the monument to the fall in war, erected in 1929 to commemorate the victims of WWI. Unfortunately, the monument was among the first structures to collapse. Another important building is the monastery dedicated to St. Peter, which was built in 1630, this convent of the Franciscans Observant friars had 18 monks from which recalls the monk Nicholas Onorati Columella (1735-1822) who was an expert in agricultural and natural sciences, and was appointed by Joachimo Murat, the first professor of the Faculty of Agronomy at the University Federico II. In 1792 Pope Pius VI donated to the monks for their convent an embalmed body of St. Vincent, a martyr of 300 a.C. The mother church of Craco was dedicated to st Nicholas V the bishop, (the patron saint of Craco) and was built around XIV century. In the church, there were rich and decorated marble altars of baroque art throughout till 80s, after the desecration of the church and the subsequent abandonment, it became a resource for many thieves.
In fact, today the church is completely empty as a symbol of human incivility. The chapel of Our Lady of the Star (Madonna Della Stella) 1600 is about 1 km from the old town built near a natural water spring called by the people”crachesi” fountain piscicchio. Craco venerates the Madonna Della Stella, her feast is celebrated on the first Sunday of May. Another suggestive chapel was the Virgin of Monserrat, which was located at the Square of the Old
TOWN, WHICH IS COMPLETELY DESTROYED BY THE LANDSLIDE
The territory of Craco has always been affected by a complex system of landslide with many fronts. In the book of history speaks of many landslides that have affected this town at different times: 1600.1805,1857,1870 and 1933. the people “crachesi”, despite the difficulties that most affected this earth, they never abandoned their town. The hill is made up of “variegated clays” that is red clay, green and dark gray, which are strongly prepared for hydrological instability. The top of the relief instead is constituted by the “conglomerate of Craco”, polygenic conglomerate, composed of limestone elements, sandstone and Marley erinaceous, roughly rounded, slightly to moderate, cemented by a sandy-clayed matrix with degree of cementation varies from point to point. The landslide has ancient origins and so natural, but that of 1963 was primarily consequent of the features that the urban expansion of the 900 contributed to the sliding. The leakage of the pipe networks and water wastes, that is tanks and wells also contributed. In the period between the 60s and 80s, Craco lost more than half of the citizens, because the landslide, the landslide also added to the scarcity of work and many were forced to emigrate to Northern part of Italy and abroad. Currently the population of Craco has780 inhabitants. The landscape context, that is the continuity of the colors and its particular harmony and unique geomorphology over the past forty years have made it more natural sets sought by the great Italian and international cinema and because of this many films are shot in Craco. Films like: The Wolf by Alberrto Lattuada, The time of the beginning by Luigi Di Gianni, Christ Stopped at Eboli by Francesco Rosi, King David by Bruce Beresford, Saving Grace by Tom Conti, Class of Iron, The Night Sun by Paolo, Vittorio Taviani, Scorched Earth by Fabio Segatori, The passion of Christ by Mel Gibson, Nativity by Catherine Hardwicke, The Big Question directed by Francesco Cabras, Alberto Molinari, Nine Poems in Basilicata by Antonello Faretta, James Bond 007-Quantum of Solace directed by Marc Foster, Daniel Craig and Giancarlo Giannini, Basilicata coast to coast by Rocco Papaleo, Murder in the Dark by Dagen Merrill , A Village Doctor by Liugi di Gianni.The future direction is to give the site of Craco is valorization and recovery of scientific purpose, cultural, film production, tourism, with residencies and workshop for artists. To this purpose we established scenic park museum with workshop of art, film and design made of scientific infrastructure to create a laboratory research, experimentation and training on new technologies, soil conservation and environmental monitoring. The mayor presented a program demanding for an intervention from the State and the Basilicata region