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."
During the mid-twentieth century, recurring earthquakes began to take a toll on the viability of the town. Between 1959 and 1972, portions of the village were severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable by a series of frana, or landslides. The geological threat to the town was known to scientists since 1910, due to Craco's location on a hill of Pliocene sands overhanging the clays, with ravines causing progressive incisions. For safety the entire population of 1,800 residents moved to a valley in Craco Peschiera 1963 leaveing the town uninhabited.
Because of its unique and particular landscape Craco has been the setting of many movies, such as King David by Bruce Beresford, Saving Grace by Tom Conti, The Nativity Story by Catherine Hardwicke, Quantum of Solace by Marc Forster and The Passion of The Christ by Mel Gibson, in particular Craco is the town that can be seen in the scene of the hanging of Judas.