In order to speed up processing time for tabacco to be sold as contraband the leaves would be crushed, the central 'manego', or raised nerves of leaves was pounded with a wooden hammer or squashed between stone rollers, 'tabacco rodeo', that would be used in homes locally or sold on the black market. Stone mortars, large bowls to hold the leaves and heavy, iron pestals were used to pound leaves to dust 'tabacco pesta'.
“We pounded the bad leaves in the 'pila'- mortar, with a 'geva de fero', iron pestal, pin pon pin pon, two people took turns pounding. It was prepared for whoever came to buy it, that way we could make some money. We'd dry leaves in the sun. The ripped and broken rejects of lesser quality, the stems too. Pound, pound in the pila, then it all got buried in jars in our fields. We would hide and collect them at night. (Giuseppina C., Sasso Stefan,i 2001).
There were two 'osterie', local bars where smugglers would meet to discuss their trips, one at Sasso Stefeno and one in the piazza. When it was time to make dangerous trips farmers met with the mountain guides, capable of making the noturnal trips. “ listen I've got a bundle of 3 kilos, another has five, it has to go to Sasso, to Stoccarado, Asiago.... . They wore silent soled shoes, my mother made them with rags, more rags, just rags so they wouldn't make any noise. (Egidio F., Valstagna, 1999.)
Comments to the map
There were many paths and trails that the smugglers took to reach their destinations. Steep, rocky passages to the Asiago plateau or Monte Grappa, where loads were mixed and sent back down the mountain to trade on the Veneto plains.