I truly don’t remember how Craco came to my attention. But, I knew I wanted to explore this ghost town – even though there was still so much to see on our last afternoon in Matera.
Our B&B host tried to discourage us from going. And, I wasn’t sure how Amy really felt about going – but, she agreed to the adventure. One of our favorite expressions was “perchè no?” (why not?).
It was mid-afternoon. The only way to get to Craco, at least at this time of day, was by car. So, we called Luigi, the driver that took us from the bus station to our B&B when we arrived in Matera a few nights ago. He charged us a total of €90. We thought that was a pretty fair deal.
So, why is Craco a ghost town? Well, in addition to failing infrastructure, Mother Nature was not kind to Craco. It was ravaged by landslides, floods and earthquakes.The last the of the Crachesi were forced to leave in 1980 after an earthquake. I can’t help but wonder how it lasted so long. It was impossible not to imagine the lives of the people that had lived here. And, it must have been devastating to be relocated to Craco Peschiera, a few kilometers away.
There it is…
Uh oh…there’s a perimeter fence. When we got out of the car, Luigi warned us about lupi, volpi e cinghiali (wolves, foxes and wild boars). Thanks, Luigi! By the way, the fence was there to keep us and the animals out.
How did I not know this?
We respected the fence. Check out the views!
Almost every window and door was open or missing. It was very eerie.
As we walked around the town, we did see two men slip through the fence. I hope they’re hard headed! These buildings are definitely unstable. Admittedly, I’m disappointed we couldn’t go in for a closer look. I guess they have guided hard-hat tours. Too little information, too late.
We did run into a goat herd – complete with shepherd (human variety) and German Shepherd.
Apparently, the goats didn’t get the memo! They passed through the fences and made themselves comfortable.
As I walked down a dirt road, flanked by high weeds, to get these photos, I thought about Luigi’s warning. I could definitely see the possibility of cinghiali surprising me.
The ‘new’ digs – morphed from a tent city. Not much of a trade off.
Luigi was a trip! His car was immaculate and comfortable. Speed limit signs were merely suggestions. And, Luigi, is your seat belt fastened?! He had more cell phones than hands. He’s Italian and Cuban and had a great selection of music. Some people can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, but he can dance and drive. And, proudly show pictures of his family and drive. I’ll deny it all if questioned by the caribinieri, Luigi. He told me he takes four coffee breaks a day. Wow! I would never sleep! On the way back to Matera we stopped at a gas station. I thought it was to get benzina. No, it was a coffee stop. This station had the most gorgeous coffee counter. Amy and I were duly impressed. Thanks for the coffee, Luigi! He also weighed in on the next day’s transportation possibilities – including stopping in at a Hertz Car Rental store so we could get a quote. If you need a ride, this is your guy!
Once back in Matera, Amy and I went back to Ridola to formulate a plan for getting from Matera to Ostuni. And, to drink a little wine…
(As an aside, the Greek name for Craco was Montedoro. There is currently a movie by this name. I hope it comes to our local film festival in Boulder, CO.)