but you never can choose what you love. We fell in love with the history of this house a long time before it became ours. Take a walk down memory lane with us and enjoy 100 years of exciting history!
In 1929/1930, the so-called “doctor’s house” was built in the middle of Funes and designed by the architects Amonn & Zingerle - Bolzano.
The original client was Peter Messner, owner of the Austiller farm and brother-in-law of Dr. Johann Psaier, who moved to St. Peter with his wife Klara and completed the villa.
Dr. Psaier’s favorite hobbies were travelling, hiking, photography and the nature of the mountains. In a showcase created for this purpose visitors can admire the herbarium he wrote.
Dr. Psaier was the first president of the Tourism Association. He wrote the first tourism and hiking guide of the Valle di Funes in German and Italian language. Both are still available.
Alongside the doctor’s practice and the family apartment, the house also had a number of guest rooms – right from the beginning.
In 1974, it was one of the first houses in the valley to have a swimming pool. "As soon as the swimming pool was finished, Father Perathoner came to our house and tried to persuade my mum to plant some trees around the swimming pool, to protect her family and guests from prying eyes. In his opinion, male and female guests should have used the pool separately. My father could only laugh out loud!” From: Villnöss. Erinnerungen von Erika Psaier, Winter 2016/2017, Pg. 21
After doctor Johann Psaier’s death, his daughter Erika took over the house, running it as a B&B until old age. She passed in January 2019.
In 2013 we took over the house, which had remained untouched for decades. A thorough restoration was inevitable and essential to project the house into the future.
As a tribute to the days in which the Villa Messner was still the “doctor’s house”, we set up a small exhibition in our reception area. The exhibit includes old house rules, information boards, religious paraphernalia, photos, postcards and books.
Astronomer and writer Max Valier is regarded as a pioneer of space travel. He died at the early age of 35, while testing a new type of engine. This was the first causality in space flight.
He always remained in close contact with his childhood friend Dr. Johann Psaier. Max Valier was already a guest at the Austiller farm during his school days through the summer months. "Valier helped with the work in the fields and made extensive climbing tours with my father: Fermeda, Campiller towers, […] In the evening Valier observed the moon with his telescope and drew some of his mountains [...] He also observed various shooting stars. At the end of the holidays Valier wrote a poem: "Farewell to Funes". From: Villnöss. Erinnerungen von Erika Psaier, Winter 2016/2017, Pages. 5/6
“My mother always gave dad a pocket lamp and some cake. I always had a backpack with apples that no one would eat today. My father jumped on his horse in front of the house - that was very nice - while the farmer grabbed the animal’s tail and let himself be pulled along with it. From: Villnöss. Erinnerungen von Erika Psaier, Winter 2016/2017, Pg. 13
“On Sundays we used to hike to Alpine pastures, climb mountain peaks (Sass Rigais, Furchetta) and drive to a number of different places.” From: Villnöss. Erinnerungen von Erika Psaier, Winter 2016/2017, Pg. 20
We also had a large garden, my father's pride and joy. By-passers who were peeking into the garden, thought dad was a bit weird. Of course, they didn't say it out loud. When we started growing tomatoes, the farmer's wives said it was a plant from hell. From: Villnöss. Erinnerungen von Erika Psaier, Winter 2016/2017, Pg. 21
Dr. Psaier was very good at promoting his holiday homes. As early as the 1950s, he advertised in a Dutch medical newspaper. Dutch guests liked the offer. Today the children and grandchildren of the guests are still visiting.
Hans Luthmann was born in Hamburg in 1888. He lived in Shanghai until 1914, where he worked as a merchant. After that, he became a prisoner of war in Japan. During this time, he taught himself the etching technique.
In Kobe he met his future wife, the German ambassadress Jenny Koch. In 1925 the couple got married and started travelling a lot. At the end of the 1920s, Hans and Jenny Luthmann settled in South Tyrol. Here they discovered the Gsoihof while hiking over to the Würzjoch. Luthmann and his wife liked the farm so much that they decided to rent part of it. Luthmann spent his time painting, photographing and etching Val di Funes landscapes. In 1945 Luthmann died of angina pectoris in Colle Isarco at the age of 57.
From Dr. Psaier's travel guide
A new reprint of Dr. Psaier’s travel guide is available at the tourist office in St. Peter. Despite the update, you can still identify the style of the "builder" of the Villa Messner. For example, when he describes the Geisler peaks:
The Geisler peaks are the landmark and highlight of the Val di Funes. The peaks, with their chiseled, classical profile, are considered the most beautiful mountain range in the Dolomites. If you’ve ever experienced the stunning September evening glow of the Alps, you’ll never forget this breathtaking spectacle. Over black forests, as if entranced from this world, the walls and prongs glow and glisten, and the gorges and peaks seem to be covered with dazzling gold. From: Villnöss. Ein Dolomitental in Südtirol. Überarbeitete und ergänzte Neuaflage des Gebietsführers von Dr. Johan Psaier. HG Tourismusverein Villnöß, Mai 1993. Pg. 21.