Fea studied law in Rome and graduated with a Doctor of Law from the University of La Sapienza. But he dealt since 1798 and more with the archeology and received appropriate research jobs.
For political reasons, he was forced to seek shelter in Florence; on his return in 1799 he was imprisoned as a Jacobin by the Neapolitans, who occupied at that time Rome, but released shortly thereafter and appointed Commissario delle Antichità and librarian at the Prince Chigi. Fea identified a 1781 in Rome discovered on the Esquiline statue of a discus thrower at the first throw, the so-called Diskobolos, a Roman copy in marble of the lost original statue in bronze, which created Myron.
Fea supported the regulatory control of the art trade and the excavations of the Roman antiquities. He himself undertook Roman archaeological investigations at the Pantheon (Rome) and in the forum.
He improved and commented on an Italian translation of Johann Joachim Winckelmann's History of Art and also commented on some of the works of Giovanni Ludovico Bianconi. Among his original writings are best known: Miscellanea filologica, critica, e antiquaria and Descrizione di Rome.