Rome’s iconic Casino dell’Aurora goes on the auction block
The 2,800-square-meter (30,000 square feet) Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, also known as Villa Aurora, located near Rome‘s Via Veneto, goes under on the block today in the “auction of the century.”
Casino dell’Aurora – home to the world’s only ceiling mural painted by Caravaggio, with estimated value of €471 million ($540 million), is one of the most expensive homes ever put on the market.
Much of its worth is attributed to its murals by Italian Baroque painters Caravaggio and Guercino, as well as other cultural assets.
Several rooms are frescoed by Guercino, including one featuring Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn. The building’s name stems from this work, as it decorates the main reception hall.
The villa’s most precious asset is Caravaggio’s mural depicting Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto. Dating back to 1597 and rediscovered in 1968, it is the only known ceiling mural painted by the famous artist. This alone is valued at an estimated €310 million.
Apart from precious frescoes, Casino dell’Aurora has a history of famous visitors over the centuries, such as the American-British author Henry James and Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
The Casino dell’Aurora was built in 1570 and has belonged to the Ludovisi family since the early 1600s. After the death of its last owner, Prince Nicolo Boncompagni Ludovisi, in 2018, it became the subject of a prolonged inheritance dispute between three sons from his first marriage and his third wife, the American-born Princess Rita Jenrette Boncompagni Ludovisi. The latter has spent most of the last 20 years renovating the property.
The courts finally ruled that the property be put up for auction. Whoever purchases the villa, which is protected by Italian cultural heritage laws, will be obliged to spend a further €11 million on restoration.
The starting bid for the property is set at €353 million (nearly $401 million).