Sunday, May 22

Unusual. The owner of a 471 million euro villa “forced” to sell it off

The sumptuous Roman villa of Princes Ludovisi Boncompagni, auctioned Tuesday for nearly half a billion euros, has not found a buyer, announced the notary in charge of the sale.

The high price because of a painting… by Caravaggio

Property of an ancient family of Roman nobility, the Villa Aurora, or Casino de l’Aurore, was priced at 471 million euros, including 350 million for the only painting by Caravaggio which adorns a monumental ceiling.

“No one participated in the auction,” said Camillo Verde. The next sale will take place on April 7 for a revised estimate of 376.8 million euros, a discount of 20%.

Caravaggio’s work (real name Michelangelo Merisi, 1571-1610), which dates from 1597, is on the first floor of the house. This oil painting by the master of the chiaroscuro, who died prematurely at the age of 38, depicts Jupiter, Pluto and Neptune with the globe and zodiac signs in the center.

In addition to the exceptional painting, this 2,800 m2 residence, located in the very center of Rome between the famous via Veneto, cradle of the Dolce Vita, and the Spanish Steps, houses frescoes by Guercino (1591-1666) and a sumptuous garden.

A sale for a better deal?

The auction was decided by a court in Rome to put an end to the bickering between the heirs of Prince Nicolo Ludovisi Boncompagni, head of this ancient family of Roman nobility who died in 2018.

The dispute opposes the third and last wife of the prince, Rita Jenrette Boncompagni Ludovisi, a colorful 72-year-old American who posed for Playboy, to the children born from his first marriage.

Many Italians would like the property to remain Italian rather than fall into the hands of a wealthy foreigner and are asking the State to acquire it. But the investment is considerable in the context of the economic recovery initiated by the third largest economy in the euro zone after months and months of confinement and a slowdown in activity.

Under Italian law, the government can only exercise its right of pre-emption after it has actually been acquired by a private individual, within 60 days of the conclusion of the sale and offering the same purchase price.

Record battu?

In France, the Louis XIV castle, located near Versailles, bought for 275 million euros in 2015, had been qualified by the american magazine Forbes of “the most expensive private residence in the world”. It is the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, 36, who is the owner.

If the villa Aurora found a buyer at 376.8 million euros, it would exceed all records…

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