This Italian Villa Has the Only Caravaggio-painted Ceiling in the World — and You Could Buy It for $547 Million

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Aurora, 1621, by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known as Guercino (1591-1666), fresco. Casino of the Villa Ludovisi, Rome.
Aurora, 1621, by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known as Guercino (1591-1666), fresco. Casino of the Villa Ludovisi, Rome.

Dea Picture Library/DeAgostini/Getty Images Aurora, 1621, by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known as Guercino (1591-1666), fresco. Casino of the Villa Ludovisi, Rome.

Luxury real estate is all about having a wow factor that seals the deal. Whether that's a suspended infinity pool, a private beach in the Caribbean, or a unique location, high-end properties have something — or many things — most homes don't. But when it comes to completely one-of-a-kind features, an enormous mural by Caravaggio ranks pretty high in our book.

One lucky buyer can own the only home in the world with a mural by the famous Italian Renaissance artist if the $547 million price tag is not an issue. The villa in question is Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, also known as Villa Aurora. Located in Rome, the 16th century home was built as a hunting lodge for Italian cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte, who commissioned Caravaggio to do a ceiling painting. The artist in his 20s at the time created Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, depicting the three gods with their respective animals. But in 1621, del Monte sold the 9,000-square-foot villa together with the rest of his country estate that spanned 89 acres to the Ludovisi family.

Alessandro Zuccari, a history professor at Sapienza University in Rome, hired to appraise the work, told The Guardian that it is Caravaggio's only mural. That's why it proved pretty challenging to put a price on it because there is nothing else to compare it to. Nevertheless, he appraised it at $360 million, but he also mentioned that it needs another $12.75 million in restoration work (the mural was covered at some point and re-discovered in 1968).

But the Caravaggio ceiling painting is not the only artwork that Villa Aurora's new buyer will be able to enjoy. The property has a museum-worthy art collection, including pieces by the Italian Baroque painter Domenichino and a 1621 ceiling fresco by Guercino.

You may have already visited the Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi as the property has been open for public tours for a decade.

If it receives multiple offers, the house that will be auctioned off on January 18, 2022, could become the most expensive piece of residential real estate in the world. The current record is held by Hong Kong's Ho Tung Gardens, which sold for $658 million.

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