Presika - Fratta
Towns, Villages and Hamlets


The quarry of Candido Verbanaz in the 1920s.

Presika - Fratta
by Marijan Milevoj

The most famous stone-cutters on Labinšćina were from Presika. The whole area of the upper Presika, which lays next to the old Labin, was full of quarries between the two wars and even earlier.

One large quarry belonged to Kandido Verbanac [Candido Verbanaz] from Labin. According to the [above] photograph taken in the twenties, apparently hammer and chisel were common tools in this trade, which says enough about the hardship of this job. Only largest quarries used to have a pulley, propelled by the men, which was used to pull out heavy blocks from the pit. A larger quarry than the one owned by Candido Verbanaz had only Tonin Valčić. He owned a stone-crusher as well, where he used the remnants after stone-blocks were shaped. Next to his house was a tavern, one of the six that operated in Presika then. His quarry was located close to the house of the family Vidalić, which was also in stone-cutting business, along with many other natives of Presika. Valčić used to employ up to ten hands permanently, who made their living there. Life was hard; but the job was secure, and did not require descending into the coal-mine, which was not too popular either.

Most houses in Istria were stone-built, and thal was the main use of the stones from Presika. Skillful stone-cutters would form window-frames, cornerstones, doorsteps and floor-tiles. This stones were also sold in great quantities outside Labinšćina as well. They were usually transported by ox-carts to the port of Rabac, and from it by sailing ships to Rijeka, Opatija or Lovran and sometimes even to Venice. A good part of the port of Rijeka was paved with the stone-tiles from Presika, from where they were sometimes carried by trucks with solid rubber tires without pneumatics. Its journey to Rijeka would take about six hours on the dusty roadway, which was not too bad considering all circumstances. Besides, the road that runs through Presika today was built as late as by the end of the thirties, before that, only largest quarries were accessible.

After the war, the residents of Presika abandoned the stone-cutting business, except for Berto Skopac, who is still one of the best-known stone-cutters in Istria. He čame to like this trade from his father, a baker, who used hammer and chisel for some additional income in his spare time, chiseling hard, but, by many of us beloved, stone.

Source:

  • Marijan Milevoj, Postcards from Labin / Daniel Načinović, Kartulini z Labinscini, translation to English by Valter Kvalić, Naklada Matthias (Labin, 1997), p. 40-41. All © copyrights reserved.

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Created: Wednesday, March 08, 2006; Last updated: Saturday November 03, 2007
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