In Antica Villa Sophie, more precisely in the west wing, we can still see the coat of arms of the Scarpis family, similar to the one on a tombstone outside of the village church. The Scarpis family, originally from Parma/Piacenza, begins its story with Valerio Scarpis, that arrived in Belluno in 1451. From the public notary acts we can see that, from 1451 on, the Scarpis family had in their possession numerous proprieties. In 1673 Francesco Scarpis figured among the noblemen of area, and it is documented that he owned Villa Sant’Antonio. In 1687 Angiela, daughter of Francesco, fatally wounded in a shooting accident, was buried in the church next to Antica Villa Sophie, in the tomb of the Scarpis family (Parochial Archives of Trichiana, 1663-1751) The first accounts linked to Antica Villa Sophie let us know that in the XVII Century the Girlesio family took over. Their coat of arms can still be seen today on the fireplace. Even though the layout of the villa is the typical one for a country house, the execution of certain architectural features reveals a smart and refined eye, worthy of the owners of this villa. Among these owners, we find Francesco Girlesio, member of the Literary and Agronomic Academy of Animastrici of Belluno, a cultural association whose goal was to develop and spread the physiocratic theories of the time. The villa was part of the troubled European history of the last Century, especially during the Great War. In 1917, the Austrian troops occupied the area and in a year plundered most of villas and houses there. Libraries and churches were ransacked, the livestock was taken away, and many artefacts were stolen and then, later on, partly recovered in Wien. The texts that were recovered are now in the library of Borgo Valbelluna (inaugurated at the presence of known personalities, such as Mike Bongiorno) In 1920, after many decades of history, the villa became propriety of the Cortina family, from Sant’Antonio da Tortal, that also acquired the field next to it and built the stables and the barn. Known members of this family are Aldo Mario e Renzo Cortina, 2 brothers that, in the 50’s, became famous in the editorial world of Milan. During World War 2, Sant’Antonio di Tortal became a strategic point for the Resistance of Veneto, thanks to its position between the Social Republic of Mussolini and the Province of Belluno, part of the Third Reich. Important events had this villa as their background, and the accounts tell us that the German soldiers stole the ropes that were used to hang the 4 Schiocchet brothers from Villa Girlesio. Many other citizens would meet this tragic end for fighting for the Resistance. Among the few that escaped it, we find the young Ernesto Cortina, a member of the family that owned the villa, that was speared because a German commander took pity on him.In the years that followed the war, the villa did not go through any major change, but in the 90’s it underwent some restoration works. As reported by Dr. Monica Frapporti, councillor for culture for Borgo Valbelluna, on her research on the origins of Villa Sophie: “in the west wing of the villa, now turned into a B&B, we can still see the coat of arms of the Scarpis family, similar to the one in the tombstone outside of the village church. The Scrapis Family- originally from Parma or Piacenza- begins its story with Valerio Scarpis, that came to Belluno in 1451. In 1459 Valerio Scarpis used to rent his possessions of Trotal. Later on, in 1548, Marte Scarpis had possession in Trotal, and then, in 1614, it was Antonio Scarpis’ turn. In 1673 Francesco Scarpis figured among noblemen of Serravalle, and owned a house in Sant’Antonio. In 1687 Angiela, daughter of Francesco, fatally wounded in a shooting accident, was buried in the church next to Antica Villa Sophie, in the tomb of the Scarpis family. In the XVII Century a branch of the family moved to Serravalle (Vittorio Veneto) and in 1737 Giovanni Maria d’Menegon from Sant’Antonio Tortal, “Collono of the Illustrissimo Giacomo Scarpis of Serravalle” also moved there. Lastly, in 1780, Giacomo, son of the Noble Giulio Scarpis of Serrvalle, lives in Tortal”
Entering Antica Villa Sophie is a sensorial experience. The staircase that connects the floors of the building has been called “the stairway of time”: an exhibition that unfolds all through the stairway, highlights the main events that involved the Villa, from its construction until today, including the fist steps in the countryside of the future Pope Gregory XVI.