US-born princess evicted from Roman villa housing the only Caravaggio ceiling fresco
ROME –Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, an American princess, has been evicted from a Roman villa that houses the only extant Caravaggio ceiling fresco on Thursday evening, officials said.
The 16th century Villa Aurora, which is located in central Rome on Via Veneto, had been abandoned until 2010 when it was opened after a restoration project inspired by the princess, who is a former New York property broker. Princess Ludovisi was given the right to stay in the villa for the rest of her life by her late husband, Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi. If sold, Nicolò ordered for the money to be split between her and his three sons.
However, the sons disputed this and started a long-running inheritance dispute with Princess Ludovisi.
Both sides eventually settled on putting the home up for sale. However, the property failed to attract a single bidder despite the price being slashed from 471 million euros to 145 million euros.
A judge order Ludovisi’s eviction in January when it emerged that she had not been properly taking care of the building and the Caravaggio fresco.
Ludovisi was finally escorted out of the sixteenth-century Villa Aurora by police on Thursday along with her Ukrainian housekeeper and her children.
Holding her dog in her arms, Ludovisi expressed her distress at the situation saying, “What did I do to deserve this? It’s a mystery to me – why are they so intent on getting me out of here?”
The youngest of Prince Nicolò’s sons, Bante Boncompagni Ludovisi, waited outside the villa to watch “the villa being liberated from that woman,” claiming that his father was "out of his mind" when he wrote his will.
Princess Ludovisi is said to be staying with a friend in Civitavecchia before working out where to go next.
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