What people believe is the most expensive home in the world doesn’t have a swimming pool, or a tennis court, or vast rolling lawns. It doesn’t have ocean views or its own island.
What it does have, is a priceless piece of art attached to its ceiling.
Located in Rome, the relatively humble Villa Aurora is now estimated to be worth a half a billion dollars.
Yes, that’s billions with a B.
It's only a small part of a vast 16th century estate called Villa Ludovisa, an estate once considered to be one of the most important in the world. While the villa is certainly impressive, it’s the art that catapults it to its perch.
It's most famous piece of art is a stunning Caravaggio ceiling fresco. The enfant terrible of the Renaissance art world, bad-boy Caravaggio (who fled Rome when he was charged with murder) only painted one ceiling in his career, and the immovable masterpiece is at Villa Aurora.
The house boasts other priceless pieces as well, including a stunning sculpture by Michelangelo and countless other artifacts throughout the house.
Villa Aurora is currently at the center of a Succession-worthy battle, with a Texas socialite-turned-princess fighting her late husband’s family, who are descendants of Pope Gregory XV, for the rights to the home. A judge has ordered the villa to be sold. It’ll be interesting to see this continue to play out and who the lucky buyer will be, but, until then, the home is open for limited tours.
So when in Rome ...