Rome has always been something of a paradise for art lovers. But there are places in Rome where the public hasn’t been allowed to go, and where some of the most beautiful and most valuable works of art can be found. One such place is a 16th-century villa, called Villa Aurora, that belonged to Princess Rita Boncompagni-Ludovisi and her husband, his Serene Highness Prince Nicolò Boncompagni-Ludovisi.
He passed away in 2018, and there has been an inheritance fight regarding the villa ever since. The princess, who was born in Texas as Rita Carpenter, has done extensive work on the property, as did her husband before his passing. In fact, Princess Rita has spent nearly the last two decades of her life giving access to scholars and arranging for private tours to keep the villa up and running. She and her husband sacrificed nearly everything else in their lives to improve the villa.
When her husband died, a lien was added to the property. The prince had sons from a previous marriage, and they contested the Will that gave the princess use of the villa until her death, as well as 50% of the villa’s value. The disputes regarding ownership and value went on for years, until September 2021, when an Italian court made its ruling: the villa will be auctioned.
The asking price is upward of $500 million, and whoever purchases the villa will have a treasure trove of Western Art. Some discoveries already found on the property have been breathtaking, and incredibly historic. The princess is convinced that there are many more treasures to be found.
She also has hopes that the Italian government will buy the villa and turn it into a museum, or that a billionaire will come along and purchase it, but she knows those scenarios are unlikely. Instead, it will likely be sold to an investor with very deep pockets, and may once again become inaccessible to the public, taking the history and mystery with it.
The Estate Planning & Legacy Law Center helps people who want to avoid costly, time-consuming, public estate administration. To learn more, contact us today!