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The Guarnieri Family

According to some the surname ‘Guarnieri’ comes from the verb ‘to govern’ or ‘to manage’. It’s hard to say whether this is true or not, but it’s certain that the first Guarnieri – Jeremiah – arrived in Feltre from Treviso in the second half of the 1700s. He was appointed by one of the local aristocratic families to run their farming business. 


Jeremiah’s grandchild, James, dedicated himself to a wholly different occupation, founding a company specialised in military construction. Over the 1800s, thanks to the political instability of the area, it flourished. In 1860 this enabled him to buy the complex where the present Villa exists, for the price of 13.602,92 Austro-Hungarian florins. 


After the fall of the “Most Serene Republic of Venice”, by 1797 the city of Feltre had become part of the Hapsburg Empire. The situation would only change in 1866 after the third war of Independence and the consecutive referendum, with which the whole of the Veneto Region became part of the new Italian Kingdom.


The eighteenth-century St. Joseph Church was already on the site. Its function was that of providing accommodation and an opportunity for the farmers and shepherds of the area to pray, without forcing them to go all the way to the city. A previous owner, the established Giuseppe Fabri, had however already enriched the small church with paintings from important artists of the period: Sebastiano Ricci, Federico Bencovich and Angelo Trevisani. These pieces are now kept in Feltre’s Diocesan Museum.


Since then the estate has always been property of the Guarnieri family, surviving unscathed two World Wars.

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