Venetian villas, which make up one of the most typical systems of historical architectural goods in the Northern Italian countryside, are a clear example of the allocation problems of merit goods management. These problems derive from the differences between the limited financial resources available and both the actual distribution of the benefits received by the public at large and the preferences expressed by the majority. In fact, the Venetian villas are risking progressive degradation from abandonment or invasive transformations due to unsuitable management politics and scarce financial resources. For this reason, the management policies regarding these merit goods must be reexamined both theoretically and in practice. Furthermore, the legal constraints, whose purpose is to conserve the goods, must be accompanied by appropriate economic uses which offer the financial resources to conserve the goods. An exhaustive analysis of these historical architectural goods must be carried out by adopting a multidimensional approach to take into account technical, social, economic and political aspects. Therefore, a multi-criteria approach was developed in order to determine the best "feasible" compromise solution of the decision problem which policy makers have to solve. In this paper, a multiple criteria model to evaluate the aptitude of Venetian villas to sustainable economic use is illustrated. The results show that a compromise solution between sustainable economic use and conservation must be met in order to exploit the synergies between the cultural characteristics of Venetian villas and their aptitude to sustainable economic use.