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Italy’s most expensive property soon up for sale

Italy’s most expensive property soon up for sale

Villa Aurora, in Rome, includes the only known mural by Caravaggio

Villa Aurora, also known as Casino dell’Aurora de Villa Ludovisi, a Renaissance palace located near Via Veneto in central Rome is set to go on the property market on 18 January. But before you reach out to your wallets, keep in mind that the property has been valued at 471 million euros, making it only fit for billionaires. According to Architectural Digest, this would set a world record if sold, although simple research shows that there are properties that are valued even higher (most of them located around Monaco and the French Azure Coast).

The historic villa doesn’t even have a swimming pool, but it has something that connoisseurs consider even more valuable – the world’s only known mural painted by the legendary Baroque artist Caravaggio (1571-1610). That is in fact, what’s also driving up the price of the mansion to such dizzying heights. The mural alone has been valued at more than 300 million euros!

A villa filled with art treasures

The villa has been in possession of the aristocratic Ludovisi family for more than 400 years. However, since the death of the last owner Prince Niccolo Boncompagni Ludovisi in 2018, his heirs have been unable to agree upon the inheritance.

The court ordered the property to be sold, but the site is also protected by Italy's culture ministry so it can’t be remodelled or demolished. The media claim that the new owner should provide at least 12-13 million euros for restoration. The Italian state does have the right to buy it, at least at the price asked at the auction, but at the moment this seems unlikely.

The late prince’s widow, an American-born woman by the name of Rita Genrett has tried to do as much as she can in terms of restoration, investing her own funds and even receiving as much as 10 million euros in subsidies from the state for reconstruction works.

The amazing thing is that Caravaggio’s ceiling mural, which depicts the ancient gods Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto, and whose faces are reportedly self-portrait representations of the artist’s own face, is not the only art treasure in the palace. The villa is called Aurora after another ceiling fresco, painted at the entrance chamber by Guercino – another famous Baroque painter.

The 17-century garden has another surprise – sculptures made by Michelangelo and Pomarancio, plus a variety of Roman and Greek artefacts. All of the above makes the villa a veritable museum, rather than a simple living abode.

Built in 1570, the villa has since received innumerable notable figures - from Galileo Galilei to Annie Leibovitz.

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