During the 17th century, when the Venezians expelled the Turks from the area, they built fortified cities like Dubrovnik, Kotor, Perast and Budva along the cost to stabilize their rule, however, they needed supplies of agricultural products and a supportive local population. So, they invited Serbians to come and build villages and start farming in the surrounding areas. It is therefore possible to know in which period the stone buildings of these villages were constructed, of which Mitrovici is a typical example. Historical records display that Villa Storla was probably constructed as a farmhouse in the mid 17th century; most likely around 1645 a.d. Its basic structures have remained unchanged since. Two families used to live in each part of the house. The first floor was for living, and the ground floor was for milling olives and storing agricultural products. The upper annex was used for cooking, the lower was a stable for horses and a cow stall. The little room below the annex veranda was probably for pigs. The loft floor was the only floor that was added by us, but we have used hand carved original stones from the 17th century to keep the style intact.
The area had no roadways until the 1970's. The donkey track going down to the sea was the only access. It was reconstructed after Venezia was conquered by Napoleon, and the Habsburgers took over around 1815 (The Austrian-Hungarian double Monarchy). It became an engineering masterpiece, which was kept both for the convenience of having access to the sea, and for its historical significance and beauty. After the second world war, Tito and his communist Yugoslavia wanted to develop the new state into an industrial power and wanted people to leave the old fashion lifestyle. On Lustica it was typically a combination of keeping olive trees and goats, which kept down the vegetation. In addition, they had small parcels, where they grew different agricultural products, basically for themselves. It was a very hard life, a struggle to survive, and in Mitrovici most of the men had to work outside the village, e.g. in construction work, as seamen or day labourers. After the war, the village still had more than 100 inhabitants, living closely together in a tight community. They shared everything and supported each other. In the evenings Villa Storla was often the place where the villagers met. They played folk music, song and danced and told the history of the proud Montenegrin nation. But Tito declared the goat "a public enemy" and urged the villagers to move into the cities. Villa Storla was abandoned as a family house in 1961. But it was still used as a leisure place until the big earth quake in 1979. Then the roofs were seriously damaged, but the rest of the buildings stood firm. When the present owners took over in 2005, only the stone walls were usable and they have spent substantial amounts of time, piety and means to reconstruct it in a historically correct way, to take it as close back to the original atmosphere as possible. Their architect, Mr Jovica Rasovic is a specialist on historical buildings, and has done a splendid job to combine an authentic historical restoration with modern facilities and comfort. It has now a distinct Mediterranean style.
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