|ntonio Covaz was born in Pisino (then Mitterburg, now Pazin) on March 27, 1820, the only child of Giuseppe Covaz and Teresa Segher von Weissenhaus. both originating form the same town.||
linguist, ethnologist, geographer and
born in Pisino
Antonio's paternal ancestors were who had emigrated to Pisino (now Pazin) in the 18th century from Aidussina (Ajdovščina) and Postumia (Postojna), a part of Istria that is now in Slovenia. One of his grandmothers was from the Godina family in Pisino, the other from the de Franceschi family from Gollogorizza (also known as Moncalvo di Pisino, now Gologorica). His father was a landowner and his mother a noblewoman, the daughter of Antonio Segher, the mayor of Pisino from 1822 to 1825. According to official birth records, Antonio was an only child. His father died in Trieste a few months before Antonio was born and his mother remarried in 1826 to James Jačić from Opatija. Apart from his native Italian, Antonio was fluent in German, French and Croatian ("lo slavo", perhaps a local dialect), which was a rarity among the intellectuals of his time.
Antonio attended secondary school in Trieste, but had to interrupt his studies to return to Pisino where he continued his education independently. His interests in his native homeland included the history, geography, linguistics, and geology of Istria. He identified 18 marine fossils. Antonio Stoppani, a well-known Italian geologist, named geological fossils that he found "Hermaster Covatii Tarm" in his honor.
Covaz was one of the major intellectuals of his time. He collaborated on the magazines La Provincia dell’Istria e L’Istria, along with the other intellectuals of that period Antonio Scampicchio, Carlo De Franceschi, Pietro Kandler, Tomaso Luciani, Michele Facchinetti, Marco Tamaro, Giampaolo de Polesini, Nicolò de Madonizza e Richard Francis Burton. His contributions to prehistoric research is notable. Together with Carlo De Franceschi, he was the first person to determine the precise location of the Nesazio hillfort (castelliere). Near the town of Faturi, near Corridico, he discovered a Roman brick factory.
From 1856 to 1862 Covaz was the mayor of Pazin. Following that, he undertook to expand the teaching of the Italian language in the higher classes of the German secondary school that was operating at the Franciscan monastery and to complement the Italian secondary school in Pazin.
His interests were concentrated on publishing writings that were dedicated to the Roman ruins in Istria, the frescoes and sculptures in the Church and Cemetery St.Mary of Beram (Vermo). His published contributions include the Church of St. Anthony in Corridico and places of worship in Gimino, S. Pietro in Selve and in Chersano. His passion for history led him to study the Istro-Romanian people of Istria, out of which he published the work, "Rumeni dell'Istria".
Among his various activities while under the service of the Montecuccoli nobel Laderchi di Pavullo (Modena), the administrator of the Castle in Pazin, he was able to access and extract proprietary data from the country archives of Pazin going back to the 12th century.
At the start of the 20th century, Covaz was honored by having a street in Pazin named after him, as well the section of road in proximity of his birthplace in the district of Burrai. In addition, Valeriano Monti, who during his tenure had taught cattechism near the Italian secondary school “Gian Rinaldo Carli”, wrote a monograph on Covaz in 1913.
At the 115th anniversary of his death, a small sampling of his vast work was included in an exhibition “Il cammino delle generazioni sopra l’abisso della Foiba“, that were set up in the various exhibit rooms of the Civic Museum in Pisino near the Castle.