Rome’s Villa Aurora doesn’t sell at auction for €471
Even Caravaggio failed to find a buyer for the Villa Aurora Roman mansion. The opulent property has attracted no bids at auction this week, despite being the only property in the world with frescoes by Caravaggio.
The historic six-story villa is the home of Texas-born Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, and was auctioned off for a stunning display. €471 million. Among its treasures is a 1597 painting by Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio, depicting the Roman gods Jupiter and Neptune. It is thought to be the only surviving mural by Caravaggio, with its own value of 310 million, and was “rediscovered” in the 1960s.
Don’t be discouraged, the Villa Aurora will be auctioned again in April with a 20% price reduction, and it’s not just Caravaggio who has smeared its walls: the fresco by the Italian Baroque artist Guercino depicts the goddess Aurora on her chariot, while the gardens house a statue by Michelangelo.
A petition asking the Italian government to buy the property and make it available to the public is gathering pace quickly with over 38,000 signatures. However, in addition to its exorbitant price, the Italian property needs around 11 million euros worth of renovations to preserve it for the future.