An Italian Villa with the World's Only Ceiling Mural Painted by Caravaggio is for Sale for $547 Million

A court in Rome has confirmed that a 16th-century villa in the center of Rome will be auctioned in January at a starting price of 471 million euros ($547 million). The Villa is home to the world's only ceiling mural by Italian painter Caravaggio.

While most of Villa Ludovisi's infrastructure was demolished in the 19th century, the 16th century house known as "Villa Aurora" is the only part of the larger Villa Ludovisi that has survived. The structure is considered "one of the world's wonders," according to art historian Claudio Strinati in a column published in the daily Repubblica. 

Villa Aurora is surrounded by a garden and several garages totaling 2,800 square meters. It's a six-story structure houses a variety of artworks, including a ceiling mural ascribed to Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Caravaggio's painting, titled "Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto" depicts the three Roman gods surrounding a celestial sphere in which the Sun revolves around the Earth. The mural is valued at more than 310 million euros ($360 million) and has been called "priceless, being the only mural by one of the greatest painters of the modern age."

Image: Villa Aurora - image: ​Lalupa/Wikimedia

Chalk portrait of Caravaggio by Ottavio Leoni (c. 1621)

Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto by Caravaggio (c. 1587-1600)

Aurora (1621) by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino), after which the villa is named.

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Another view of Guercino's Aurora - image via Wikimedia

The Casino di Villa Ludovisi (1761) showing the original villa by Guiseppe Vasi

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