History of the Venezze-Giustiniani family

The Estate Castel Venezze takes its name from an ancient castle that was destroyed in the September of 1404, at the hands of Uguccione dè Contrary, in the service of Nicolò d'Este in a fight against the Veneziani.

The family Frassetti or Venezze, already in the territory since 1300, as is recorded in notarial deeds side by side to the name of the protecting Sant Martino resided in the Castle at the times of the Carraresi.

The estate is currently property of the descendants of this nobleman and prestigious family Veneta.

History of Tenuta Castel Venezze

The Tale of Countess Maria Giustiniani

Archaeological findings tell that the territory surrounding San Martino had already been colonized in the Roman Age. The main road in the middle of the garden, and along which two brick columns still exist, is the ancient Medieval road that connected Padua and Ferrara, while the 16th-century-building, in the "ferrarese" style, was the border between the territories of Ferrara (Estensi) and Venice (la Serenissima). That's the reason why, at the two columns, a duty had to be paid.

In 1484 San Martino was given to the Republic of Venice by the Estensi family. It remained in Venetian possession until its fall, in 1797. In 1844 and 1882 two terrible floods of the river Adige destroyed the village. Afterwards San Martino became a property of the newborn Kingdom of Italy and in 1866, the name “Venezze” was added to the locality’s one. “Venezze” means “out of the water”, since the buildings and the castle weren’t flooded by the river. The property, with its Villa and the country around, belonged to the Frassetti family. They became noble in 1425, and changed their name into Venezze in 1464.

The original castle, of the 11th century was in the area in which you can now find the agriturismo. Some of the ancient bricks are still visible in the basic arcades. In 1852 Maria Venezze, the only child of Francesco Venezze, married a Giustiniani, of Viennese origins, who had properties in Padua and Vanzo. The property of Maria Venezze was abandoned and was left to the tenants and the administrators. All sales were completed in San Martino. After Maria’s death, the palace in Rovigo was given to the Town, and it still houses the Music Conservatoire. The country was given to a daughter of hers, also called Maria, who married Giusti del Giardino. She died childless. Giusti married Giulia Bianchini, but they had no children either. After her husband’s death, Giulia gave all of Maria’s properties to Girolamo Giustiniani, who had eight children.

I am the sixth of Girolamo’s children. I moved to Florence, to live with my aunt Guicciardini (my mother’s sister), at the age of 16. After the gymnasium, I married Mario Del Bono, owner of the most beautiful jewellery on “Ponte Vecchio”. I came across this property in 1968, after Giulia Giusti’s death. My father wanted to maintain it, and not rent it out, but he hadn’t been able to manage it. My husband achieved this in 1983. He fell in love with this place, so tranquil and far from the frenetic world. He was retired, and so he decided to move here and to start big restoration works, both in the fields and on the buildings. Unfortunately, in 1995 my brother Pio died. He was an engineer just like my husband Mario, and they had decided to rescue all the buildings together. My husband became demoralized and decided to move back to Florence. He was killed in an accident with a motorbike, while walking on the pedestrian crossing. That was a fatality.

I was then all alone, so I decided to come back here in September 1995. I really didn’t know what to do. A lot of money had been spent on restoring the buildings and the grounds, but the internal works were all to be done. My sons and daughters helped me a lot. I restored three apartments and almost the entire XVI-century-palace including bedrooms, a professional kitchen, living and dining rooms. The work was intense, and at the beginning the activity of “agriturismo” very hard. Meanwhile, the trees planted were growing up and the area started looking more and more like an oasis. I started the “agriturismo” business in 1998. The pool was designed to be disinfected only with mineral salts. I followed a lot of Legambiente’s suggestions including solar panels for the hot water, reducers to spare water, low-energetic-consumption lamps etc. Fortunately, there have been plenty of clients. My nephews and nieces helped me as well, and in 2006 they restored three other apartments. I had the idea to set up cookery courses for the low season, and above all the Americans are very interested in them. But also some European cooks experienced my courses, fascinated and attracted by the tranquillity and care with which we cook. Frenzy finds no place here.

In September 2014, the Contessa Maria Giustiniani left us. The business is now run by his five sons who have kept the same spirit of hospitality towards guests that was typical of their mother.

disegno della tenuta castel venezze

The Villa 80s

The Villa in the 80s

The Villa after the Restoration

The Villa after the Restoration

Portico in the 80s

Portico in the 80s

Portico after the Restoration

Portico after the Restoration