Art

Texas princess refuses to leave Roman villa with precious Caravaggio work despite eviction

A Texas-born Italian princess is vowing to fight a court order to vacate her 16th-century Roman villa, which has the world’s only known Caravaggio ceiling painting, worth $335 million.

Princess Rita Jenrette Boncompagni Ludovisi, 73, was given 60 days’ notice to leave Casino dell’Aurora last week, the latest chapter in a year-long succession feud with her late husband’s three sons.

This was told by Mrs. Boncompagni Ludovisi, a former actress Reuters she was “stunned” to be ordered to leave her home and would appeal the decision.

Casino dell’Aurora, located in central Rome, was built on the ancient gardens of Julius Caesar and features works of art by famous Italian artists such as Guercino and Caravaggio’s Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto.

After the death of her third husband, Prince Nicolò Francesco Boncompagni Ludovisi, in 2018, Boncompagni Ludovisi was allowed to live in the villa for the rest of her life, according to Reuters.

If sold, the proceeds would be divided between her and her late husband’s sons.

The Italian royal’s sons contested the terms of his will and have been involved in a protracted legal dispute ever since.

The villa has since fallen into disrepair and an Italian court ordered its sale to resolve the inheritance dispute with Prince Nicolò’s sons.

It failed to sell at an online auction in January 2022 after court-appointed experts set a minimum bid price of $380 million (€350 million) for the villa.

Four further auctions held at lower values ​​have also failed to find a buyer.

Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi poses for a photograph outside Villa Aurora (file photo)

(Reuters)

After the collapse of an exterior wall at the property forced the closure of a neighboring street, a judge determined the property was not properly maintained and issued the eviction order, according to The Republic.

Mrs. Boncompagni Ludovisi told Reuters she believed she may have fallen offside with the courts after offering unauthorized paid tours of the property to help with maintenance costs.

According to the Associated Press, the villa was built in 1570 and had belonged to the Ludovisi family since the early 1700s.

A previous listing at the Court of Rome auction describes it as a “monumental property” on six levels, which is “among the most prestigious architectural and landscape beauties of pre-Union Rome”.

It has three garages, two roof terraces and a “magnificent garden with arboreal essences and tall trees, footpaths, stairs and picnic areas”.

Mrs. Boncompagni Ludovisi has lived in the villa for 20 years, says the guardian in a recent interview that she has dedicated “all my time and resources” to it.

Before marrying her Italian prince, Ms. Boncompagni Ludovisi had worked in television and real estate in New York and helped broker Donald Trump’s 1998 purchase of the General Motors building, according to Forbes.

She was previously married to former North Carolina Congressman John Jenrette.

Ms Boncompagni Ludovisi did not immediately respond to a request for comment The independent.

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