Prcanj House B
Prčanj (in Italian Perzagno) is a small town in Bay of Kotor, Montenegro.
According to the 2003 census, the town has a population of 1244 people.
It is located 3 miles (~5 km) west of Kotor, opposite Dobrota and between the settlements of Muo and Stoliv. All its history has been written at sea. It was one of the most important maritime centers on southern Adriatic
Since the fall of the Roman Empire the small village of Prčanj (Perzagno) was populated by Dalmatian Italians and was closely related to the nearby Kotor (Cattaro).
While under the rule of the Venetian Republic, Prčanj (Perzagno) gained its fame in a rather unique way. By the end of the sixteenth century the administration noticed that sailors from Prčanj journeyed to Venice faster than the government ships. It was then decided that Prčanj be given the responsibility of permanent mail service for the Republic. This was further purported by a decree from 1625 that lauds Prčanj (Perzagno) inhabitants for conscientious and effective handling of State mail. The decree was of tremendous significance for the town as it freed its denizens from manual labor – a mandatory form of state service at that time. The decree officially made Prčanj a naval town, and its duties to the State were henceforth of maritime nature only.
The importance of reliable mail service was of tremendous value to the Venetian Republic. Prčanj became the port from where the mail from Istanbul that arrived over land through Montenegro continued seaborne towards Venice. Prčanj ships were initially small in size and held a crew of nine. The ships were ready to sail year around and would negotiate the 400 mile journey to Venice by oar and sail.
The town’s privileges grew and, in 1704, Prčanj was granted its own municipal district inside the Albania Veneta. This was followed by the State’s freeing the town of many tariffs. The lifting of tariffs provided an impetus for economic growth which further developed the town’s naval character. Maritime trade flourished and the ships grew in size and number, so by the end of the 18th century Prčanj hailed as home port to over 30 tall-ships. The most prevalent trading articles were Montenegrin and Greek cheese, candles, salted sardines, and Dalmatian and Greek olive oil. The most frequent ports of call for Prčanj sailors were East Mediterranean (Levant), Ancona, Puglia, Venice, and Trieste.
A significant setback for Prčanj’s maritime economy happened after the fall of the Venetian Republic (1797), which saw the arrival of the French under Napoleon and the resultant devastating British blockade of the Adriatic coast.
Prčanj was a part of the Napoleonic kingdom of Italy, but after Napoleon’s defeat all the Bay of Kotor (Bocche di Cattaro) was ceded to the Austrian Empire at the Congress of Vienna: it became a part of the province called Kingdom of Dalmatia. This initiated the revival of Prčanj’s maritime economy that lasted until the end of the 19th century, past which its tall-ships could no longer compete with the rapid advances in steamship technology.
Architecture in Prčanj bears witness to its prosperity in the 17th and 18th century. The town’s waterfront consists of a long line of stone villas, unified by their beautiful facades and separated by gardens and olive orchards. The most impressive feat of architecture in Prčanj is the Birth of Our Lady church. It seems out of proportion to the number of inhabitants and took 120 years to build (1789–1909).
It was designed by a Venetian architect Bernardino Maccaruzzi. The church has a monumental baroque facade with Corinthian and Doric columns and displays a collection of painting and sculpture worthy of its size, including works by Piazzetta, Tiepolo, Balestra, Meštrović, and numerous other artists