Italian villa with world’s only Caravaggio mural on sale for $ 547 million

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What could be the most expensive house in the world is about to be auctioned for more than half a billion dollars. But that’s not exactly for the house itself as it is for the rare paintings inside the house, including the only ceiling fresco ever painted by the famous Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Known as Villa Aurora in Rome, it is the last extant building of a 16th-century country retreat built by Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte and spans over 30,000 square feet, according to the list managed by the Italian government.

If the villa sells for what it asks for, it would be considered the “most expensive house in the world” ever sold.

The date of the auction has been set for January 18, 2022.

So far, that title belongs to a 51,000 square foot residence in Hong Kong that sold for the equivalent of $ 361 million in 2017.

An exterior view of the Italian villa.
Minister of Giustizia
If the villa sells for a price close to its closing price, it would be considered the most expensive house ever purchased.
If the villa sells for a price close to its closing price, it would be considered the most expensive house ever purchased.
Minister of Giustizia
The painting of the old hunting lodge, dated around 1597, was created by Caravaggio in his 20s and the three gods depicted are said to be based on the artist's own face.
The painting of the old hunting lodge was created by Caravaggio when he was in his twenties, and the three gods depicted are said to be based on the artist’s own face.
Getty Images

The Caravaggio mural, painted around 1597 or 1598, is an oil painting on plaster that spans 10 feet long and 6 feet wide. The painting represents the gods Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto. Jupiter rides an eagle, while Neptune rides a seahorse. A naked Pluto and a celestial sphere complete the picture.

While most of the paintings, including the murals, have been preserved over the centuries, the rest of the villa remains in a somewhat derelict condition and is in need of extensive renovations.

The Caravaggio mural, which depicts the gods Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, was painted around 1597 or 1598.
The Caravaggio mural, which depicts the gods Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, was painted around 1597 or 1598.
Getty Images

In 1968, the peeling paint revealed a face on the ceiling that closely resembled the artist. It had apparently been repainted during a past renovation of the house, according to the New York Times. When it was discovered, they not only found the mural, but also discovered that Caravaggio had been used as a model for the faces of the three gods.

The villa consists of nine other ceilings painted by prominent 16th-century artists, including a mural by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, also known as Guercino. Its fresco, titled “Aurora”, is the name of the villa.

The villa, located a stone's throw from the Spanish Steps and the Borghese Gardens, also contains rooms decorated with frescoes by Caravaggio's contemporary Guercino.
The villa, located a stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps and the Borghese Gardens, also contains rooms decorated with frescoes by Caravaggio’s contemporary Guercino.
Minister of Giustizia
The house's artwork, which also includes statues dating back to 500 BC, had an estimated “conservative” value of 670 million euros in 2010.
The house’s artwork, which also includes statues dating back to 500 BC, had an estimated “conservative” value of 670 million euros in 2010.
Minister of Giustizia
Located in central Rome, the property was once part of an 89-acre estate that writers and artists were sure to spot on their Grand Tour, a journey through Europe commonly taken by class Europeans. superior.
Located in central Rome, the property was once part of an 89-acre estate where writers and artists were sure to be spotted on their Grand Tour, a journey through Europe commonly taken by Europeans from the upper class.
Minister of Giustizia
The paintings are valued at over $ 350 million.
The paintings are valued at over $ 350 million.
Minister of Giustizia

“Having a Guercino ceiling and Caravaggio’s only ceiling makes it the most special residence of its kind in Italy,” said Count Stefano Aluffi-Pentini, whose company, A Private View of Italy, organizes tours of exclusive art in Rome, New York Times.

The house’s artwork is estimated to have an estimated ‘curatorial’ value of 670 million euros in 2010. The art also includes statues dating back to 500 BC.

Statues throughout the house date back to 500 BC
Statues throughout the house date back to 500 BC
Minister of Giustizia
The courtyard.
The courtyard.
Minister of Giustizia
The exterior steps around the villa.
The exterior steps around the villa.
Minister of Giustizia
The villa is located in Rome
The villa is located in Rome “between via Vittorio Veneto, Porta Pinciana and Villa Borghese, in one of the most elegant areas of the capital”, according to the listing.
Minister of Giustizia

The sale of the property comes after a vast inheritance dispute following the death in 2018 of its owner, Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi.

Once an offer is accepted at auction, the state will have the option of purchasing the estate at the same price as it is protected by the Ministry of Culture. But it is not known if the government will be able to pay for the house.

It is expected to go on sale and auction on January 18, 2022.
It is expected to go on sale and auction on January 18, 2022.
Minister of Giustizia
The most expensive residential property ever purchased according to publicly reported sales is the £ 477million Ho Tung Gardens in Hong Kong, according to Christie's records.
According to publicly reported sales, the most expensive residential real estate ever purchased is the £ 477million Ho Tung Gardens in Hong Kong, according to Christie’s records.
Minister of Giustizia
The rest of the house is in need of renovations that are expected to cost nearly $ 13 million.
The rest of the house is in need of renovations that are expected to cost nearly $ 13 million.
Minister of Giustizia
The sale of the property comes after a long succession dispute following the death in 2018 of its owner, Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi.
The sale of the property comes after a long succession dispute following the death in 2018 of its owner, Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi.
Minister of Giustizia

It is estimated that an additional $ 12.75 million is needed to restore the house to its original glory.

If the sale goes through, it would also exceed the asking price of $ 363 million for a Los Angeles estate, previously dubbed the highest ever on the market.


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