Because she is in an argument with the children of her deceased husband, the villa of Princess Rita Jenrette Boncompagni Ludovisi is being auctioned. Thanks to a unique ceiling painting by Caravaggio, it is not exactly a bargain.

This ceiling in the Villa Ludovisi was once embellished by the artists Guercino and Domenichino.

 This princess villa with baroque paintings is supposed to bring in 490 million francs

Anyone who buys this historic property has to be on the safe side.

 This princess villa with baroque paintings is expected to bring in 490 million francs

A statue of the Greek god Pan by Michelangelo is also part of the villa.


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    One of the most beautiful aristocratic villas in Rome is for sale after a court order.

  • The Casino d'Aurora has a lot of space, a magnificent garden and the only known ceiling painting by Caravaggio.

  • If you have the change to buy, you should also calculate renovation work for eleven million euros.

A villa with the only known ceiling painting by the important Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio will be auctioned by court order. Casino dell’Aurora, also known as Villa Ludovisi, in the heart of Rome, was built in 1570 and has been owned by the Ludovisi family, one of the aristocratic families in the Italian capital, since the early 17th century. It was last inhabited by Prince Nicolo Boncompagni Ludovisi and his wife, who was born in Texas.

After the Prince's death in 2018, the villa became the subject of an inheritance dispute between the children from his first marriages and his third wife, Princess Rita Jenrette Boncompagni Ludovisi. A judge recently ordered the villa to be auctioned off on January 18. Their value is estimated at 471 million euros, the starting bid is 353 million euros.

«You have to be a billionaire for the house»

The listing on the court's auction page highlights the many virtues of the house, but also indicates that renovation work worth eleven million euros will be required to bring the house up to today's standards. It is a “monumental property” on six levels, one of the most prestigious architectural and scenic beauties in Rome, with three garages, two roof terraces, a magnificent garden with arboretum and tall trees, pedestrian paths, stairs and relaxation areas – and the Caravaggio Painting.

The American princess, who was formerly married to the former US Congressman John Jenrette Jr. and has lived in the villa for almost 20 years, said of the sale in an interview with the AP news agency: “I tried to close the house as far as I could restore. You have to be a billionaire to have a house like this, a historic house, because you want to do everything right. »

In 2010 the couple decided to open the villa to the public for tours and dinner to help finance ongoing maintenance and renovations. In addition to the Caravaggio ceiling and the lush gardens outside, the 2800 square meter building on the fashionable Via Veneto has frescoes by Guercino, another Baroque painter.


The Caravaggio was commissioned in 1597 by a diplomat and art patron who asked the young painter to decorate the ceiling of a small room that he used as an alchemy workshop. The 2.75 meter wide mural depicting Jupiter, Pluto and Neptune is unusual: it's not a fresco, but oil on plaster it comes from an outstanding artist », said Claudio Strinati, art historian and Caravaggio expert. «The choice of the oil-on-wall technique probably stems from the fact that Caravaggio did not know how to paint frescoes technically.»

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By Teresa Tapmleton

Teresa Tampleton has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Nizh TEkegram, Teresa Tampleton worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7341

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