Historic Italian Villa With Caravaggio Mural Fails to Find a Buyer

Another auction is scheduled for June

Ceiling mural
The Hall of Fame painted by Guercino in the Casino dell'Aurora inside the Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi in Rome.

How much would you pay for a villa in Rome featuring work by some of Italy’s most renowned artists? This is not a rhetorical question — it’s one that’s currently a source of frustration for those people seeking to find a buyer for Ludovisi Casino, a historic home where a Caravaggio mural is but one of the selling points.

As The Art Newspaper reports, the villa’s owner, Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, has tried in vain to locate someone willing to purchase the historic structure. In January, an auction with the price set at €471 million (or just under $513 million) failed to find a buyer. Earlier this month, another attempt was made — this time with the price lowered to €377 million — approximately $410.5 million.

Perhaps the third time will be the charm. The villa will head back to auction in June for the (relatively) low price of €301 million (or $328 million).

The villa’s next owner might not be an individual at all. There’s an online petition with — as of this writing — over 40,000 signatures asking the Italian government to purchase the villa and turn it into a museum. As The Guardian reported earlier this year, whoever does end up buying the villa will also need to put a substantial amount of money into renovations — something which might help explain the spectacle of price drops this year.

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