If you possess around $547 million, the famous Villa Aurora in Rome can be yours. Dating to the 16th century, the monumental villa boasts the unique ceiling mural by Baroque master Caravaggio! It’s expected to obtain $547 million, becoming the most expensive property ever sold, and it will hit the auction block on January 18.
The monumental 16th-century retreat will go under the hammer in January with the auction house Fallco Zucchetti on behalf of the Italian government. The record for the most expensive property ever sold is now held by a palatial Hong Kong dwelling that was purchased for $361 million in 2017. So if this amazing villa with Caravaggio ceiling gets anywhere near the estimated price, it will be an easy record to break.
The photos of this ancient landmark might be rare, but the owner used to allow tour groups to come to witness the villa’s trove of site-specific masterpieces, such as murals by not just Caravaggio, but also Guercino, Bril, Viola, Domenichino, and Pomarancio. Besides these art masterpieces, the couple began a €10 million upgrade of the property. The Prince told New York Times that “It’s not a renewal—it’s a conservative restoration,”, after the 14-month project, which incorporated a new roof and fresh paint on the exterior.
Initially built with the purpose of a hunting lodge in 1570, it was later expanded to its present six-floor, 32,000-square-foot size. The Caravaggio mural that sparks interest a bit everywhere around the world was ordered by Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte around 1597 and remains the only one he created during this lifetime. A fun fact about this mural is that the piece was eventually covered over, only to be rediscovered in 1968, after chipped paint pointed to something underneath. Measuring ten feet by six feet, the celestial work portrays the gods Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto in a room that was reportedly used as an alchemical lab, and it is assumed that Caravaggio created the faces of the gods after his own dark features.