Villa Aurora Rome

Thanks to New York Post for this:

What could be the world’s most expensive house is about to go up for auction for more than half a billion dollars.

But it’s not exactly for the house itself as it is for the rare paintings inside the home, including the only ceiling mural ever painted by the famous Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Villa Aurora Rome

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

If the villa sells for what it is asking for, it would be considered the “world’s most expensive home” ever sold.

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

The current title of world’s most expensive home ever sold belongs to a 51,000-square-foot Hong Kong residence that sold for the equivalent of $361 million in 2017.

An exterior shot of the Italian villa.
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If the villa sells for anywhere near its closing price, it would be considered the most expensive home ever purchased.
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The painting in the former hunting lodge was created by Caravaggio when he was in his 20s, and the three gods depicted are believed to be based on the artist’s own face.
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The Caravaggio mural, painted in about 1597 or 1598, is an oil-on-plaster painting that spans a massive 10 feet long and 6 feet wide. The painting depicts the gods Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto. Jupiter rides an eagle, while Neptune is mounted on a seahorse. A naked Pluto and a celestial sphere completes the painting.

While most of the paintings, including the murals, have been preserved throughout the centuries, the rest of the villa remains in a somewhat abandoned state and in need of much renovations.

The Caravaggio mural, which depicts the gods Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, was painted in about 1597 or 1598.
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In 1968, peeling paint revealed a face on the ceiling that looked much like the artist. It had apparently been painted over during a past renovation of the home, according to the New York Times. When it was uncovered, they found not only the mural, but they also discovered Caravaggio had used himself as a model for the faces of the three gods.

The villa consists of nine other ceilings painted by prominent 16th-century artists, including one mural by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, also known by Guercino. His fresco, titled “Aurora,” is what the villa is named after.

The villa, located a stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps and the Borghese Gardens, also contains rooms frescoed by Caravaggio’s contemporary Guercino.
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The artwork at the home, which also includes statues dating to 500 B.C., had a “conservative” estimated value of €670 million in 2010.
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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 trip through Europe commonly made by upper-class Europeans.
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The paintings are valued at over $350 million.
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“To have a ceiling by Guercino and the only ceiling by Caravaggio makes it the most special residence of this kind in Italy,” Count Stefano Aluffi-Pentini, whose company, A Private View of Italy, organizes exclusive art tours in Rome, told the New York Times.

The artwork of the home is estimated to have had a “conservative” estimated value of €670 million in 2010. The art also includes statues dating to 500 B.C.

Statues throughout the home date back to 500 B.C.
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The courtyard.
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The exterior steps around the villa.
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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.
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The property’s sale comes after an extensive inheritance dispute following the 2018 death of its owner Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi.

Once a bid is accepted at auction, the state will have the opportunity to buy the estate at the same price because it is protected by the ministry of culture. But it is unclear if the government will be able to afford the home.

It is expected to go on sale and up for auction on Jan. 18, 2022.
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According to publicly reported sales, the most expensive residential real estate ever bought is the £477 million Ho Tung gardens in Hong Kong, Christie’s records state.
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The rest of the home is need of renovations that are expected to cost nearly $13 million.
Ministero della Giustizia
The property’s sale comes after a lengthy inheritance dispute following the 2018 death of its owner Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi.
Ministero della Giustizia

It is estimated that another $12.75 million is needed to restore the home to its original glory.

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