An Italian villa restored by a Texas-born princess is up for sale. Despite the $533m estimate, there’s no swimming pool, but it does include a unique Baroque mural.

The Casino dell’Aurora
The Casino dell’Aurora, also known as Villa Ludovisi, in Rome. Gregorio Borgia/AP Photo
  • The Casino dell’Aurora, also known as Villa Ludovisi, is scheduled for auction in January.
  • It’s for sale for the first time in 400 years, following an inheritance battle.
  • It features what is believed to be the only ceiling mural by Caravaggio and is valued at $US533 ($AU761) million.

A historic villa in central Rome, Italy, with the world’s only known ceiling mural by Caravaggio, is scheduled to go up for auction in January. 

The Casino dell’Aurora, also known as Villa Ludovisi, has been owned by the aristocratic Ludovisi family since 1621.

But following an inheritance battle between the children of Prince Nicolo Boncompagni Ludovisi, who died in 2018, Sky News reported that a judge has ruled that the family could lose possession of the property, built in 1570, for the first time in 400 years.

Guercio fresco at Villa Ludovisi
Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi shows a fresco by Guercino inside The Casino dell’Aurora, also known as Villa Ludovisi, in Rome, Tuesday, November 30, 2021. Gregorio Borgia/AP Photo

Bids on the 2,800-square-meter property, which features a fresco by the Baroque artist Guercino, two roof terraces, and landscaped gardens, will start at 353 million euros ($US400 ($AU571) million), per Bloomberg. The property is valued at 471 million euros ($US533 ($AU761) million), the media outlet said.

The historic home is most famous for its opulent nine-foot wide mural by Caravaggio, commissioned by a diplomat in 1597.

Caravaggio mural at the Villa Ludovisi
A wall painting by Caravaggio inside The Casino dell’Aurora, also known as Villa Ludovisi, in Rome. Gregorio Borgia/AP Photo

According to Bloomberg, the listing says that approximately 11 million euros ($US12.5 ($AU18) million) in renovations will be required to make the property comply with current standards.

A Texas-born princess, who was previously married to former US congressman John Jenrette Jr, started renovations on the property after marrying the late Boncompagni Ludovisi in 2009, Sky News reported.

Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi
Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi welcomes journalists to Villa Ludovisi in Rome on November 30, 2021. Gregorio Borgia/AP Photo

Her husband used the dilapidated building as an office, she told the Associated Press.

“I started really trying to restore it as much as I could, within means,” Princess Rita Jenrette Boncompagni Ludovisi told AP. “Really, you need to be a billionaire, not a millionaire. You need to be a billionaire if you have a house like this, a historic home because you want to do everything right. You don’t want to get anything wrong.”

The gardens of The Casino dell’Aurora, also known as Villa Ludovisi.
The gardens of The Casino dell’Aurora, also known as Villa Ludovisi. Gregorio Borgia/AP Photo

According to Sky News, Boncompagni Ludovisi said that she hopes the Italian government acquires the villa.