One of the things I love most about travel are the unexpected treasures you stumble upon.
Like this incredible stonemason school on Brač, a tiny Adriatic island near Split in Croatia.
Brač is famous for its pure white limestone. It has been quarried on the island since Roman times and has been used to build grand buildings up and down this part of Croatia’s Adriatic coast.
Diocletian’s Palace in Split is made from the stuff. So too are the parliament buildings in Vienna and Budapest. It was even used in the construction of the White House in Washington.
The school was founded in 1909. It sits in a grand building overlooking a pretty bay in Pučišća and inducts 25 students a year. Most are teenagers from Brač, but there’s a handful of students from other parts of Europe as well.
I visited the school with my sister and her husband who were visiting Croatia from Australia. Sadly, the students had gone home for Easter, but the caretaker, Goran, agreed to show us around.
Goran explained that the school was the only place in Croatia where students can obtain a professional qualification in stonemasonry and that they started the course at age 14. He pointed out an ancient stone lion that students had to replicate as part of their course work. And he explained how many of the tools they used hadn’t changed since Roman time.
He even gave us a small demonstration.
The course takes four years. But all the hard work is worth it. Graduates from the Pučišća stonemason school are sought after across the world.
So, if you ever find yourself in Brač, I can heartily recommend visiting the school.
As you leave, take a moment to look at the ornate stone frames around the windows of the school building.
They are designed and created by the class in their final year as their last assignment.
And as a gift of thanks to the school for teaching them such valuable skills.