The 61-year-old man found the bomb hidden in a chest of drawers, Corriere del Veneto reported.
Afraid to touch it, he called the police, who immediately sent a bomb disposal team to assess the artefact.
The experts confirmed that he was right to be worried; the artillery shell was a relic from the First World War, and that although its end had been removed, the rest of it was still intact, meaning it could have gone off at any moment.
The unit transported the 25cm-long weapon to a mine, where a controlled explosion was carried out.
How the bomb came to be in the elderly woman's possession is a mystery, but it is probable that the 88-year-old had kept it for years, not knowing the danger it posed, Corriere del Veneto said.