Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

An expansive Italian villa containing the only ceiling painting by Caravaggio could become one of the most expensive properties ever sold when it goes up for auction for almost 500 million euros (422 million pounds).

Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, otherwise known as Villa Aurora in Rome, was part of a country house built in the 16th century by Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte.

The home has a 2.75m wide painting by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio, entitled Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, which alone has been valued at € 310 million (£ 260 million).

A sprawling Italian villa with the only ceiling painting by Caravaggio (pictured) may be the most expensive property ever sold

A sprawling Italian villa with the only ceiling painting by Caravaggio (pictured) may be the most expensive property ever sold

Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, otherwise known as Villa Aurora in Rome, was part of a country house built in the 16th century

Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, otherwise known as Villa Aurora in Rome, was part of a country house built in the 16th century

The painting in the former hunting lodge, dated around 1597, was created by Caravaggio when he was in his 20s, and the three depicted gods are believed to be based on the artist’s own face.

The artwork, which is unusual in that it is painted in oil on plaster, is located in the property’s alchemy laboratory.

The cardinal sold the villa to the noble Ludovisi family, who had close ties to the papacy, in 1621, and they still own the house to this day, although they have since sold all other parts of the former estate.

Located a stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps and the Borghese Garden, the villa also features rooms that are frescoed by Caravaggio’s contemporary Guercino.

A stone's throw from the Spanish Steps and the Borghese Garden, the villa also features rooms that are frescoes of Caravaggio's contemporary Guercino (pictured)

Located a stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps and the Borghese Gardens, the villa also features frescoes of Caravaggio’s contemporary Guercino (pictured)

The property will go up for auction on January 18 with an opening bid of € 471million (£ 397million).

The most expensive residential property ever bought according to publicly reported sales is the £ 477 million Ho Tung Gardens in Hong Kong, Christie’s records say.

The second highest, also in Hong Kong, is Pollock’s Path Estate, which was sold in 2017 for £ 260 million.

Ho Tung gardens were sold as land, while Pollock’s Path Estate is an apartment complex.

For a single-family home, the most expensive sale is La Belle Epoque at £ 230 million in Monaco.

Alessandro Zuccari, a history professor at the University of Sapienza in Rome who helped appreciate the mural, told The Guardian: ‘Del Monte bought property there, which he restructured before having Caravaggio paint the mural in his laboratory, which was only a very small room. .

‘It’s an extraordinary work that was hard to appreciate as it was the only mural ever done by Caravaggio and so we had nothing to compare it to.’

The sale of the property comes after a long-running inheritance dispute after the owner's death in 2018, Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi

The sale of the property comes after a long-running inheritance dispute after the owner’s death in 2018, Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi

The world’s most expensive homes

1. Buckingham Palace – £ 2.2 billion

2. Antilia, India – 1-2 billion pounds

3. Villa Leopolda, French Riviera, £ 550 million

4. Four Fairfield Pond, Los Angeles, £ 422 million

5. Odeon Tower, Monaco, £ 281 million

The sale of the property comes after a long-running inheritance dispute after the owner’s death in 2018, Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi.

Zuccheri said other rooms in the property are spectacular, but the most important are the two with works by Caravaggio and Guercino that describe the home as ‘unique’.

A number of other antiques fill the corridors, but dozens of Roman statues are now kept at the National Roman Museum after they were purchased by the Italian government.

Once a bid has been accepted at auction, the state will have the option to purchase the property for the same price because it is protected by the Ministry of Culture.

But it is not clear whether the government would be able to pay such a large price for a property that has mostly stood behind closed doors for centuries.

Whoever buys it will then have to spend an additional € 11 million in restoration costs, it has been estimated.

The property will almost certainly be the most expensive ever sold at auction, far overshadowing the Beverly Hills mega-mansion with 20 bedrooms of £ 37 million, which was purchased this year.

The world's most expensive private home is Antilia (pictured) in India, although it has not gone on sale since it was built in 2010 for an estimated £ 1 billion.

The world’s most expensive private home is Antilia (pictured) in India, although it has not gone on sale since it was built in 2010 for an estimated £ 1 billion.

If the sale goes through, it would also compete with the offer price of £ 363 million for the Los Angeles pillow, which was previously called the highest ever on the market.

Named ‘The One’, the 105,000-square-foot Bel Air property is now being sold at a much lower price after its owner defaulted on more than $ 165 million in debt, according to court documents.

It was put on hold by the Los Angeles County Superior Court when the owner of the mansion, Nile Niami, had millions in debt and loans.

Niami, a real estate developer, bought ‘The One’ in 2012 and has spent the last nine years promising to build the most beautiful home in the United States and turn it around profitably, but he has not been able to complete construction or find a buyer since it went to sale in January.

The One is pretty much finished, though it’s unclear how much it will end up selling for.

The world’s most expensive private home after Buckingham Palace is Antilia in India, although it has not gone on sale since it was built in 2010 for an estimated £ 1 billion.

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