A Texas-born Italian princess is vowing to fight a court order to vacate her 16th-century Roman villa that houses the world’s only known Caravaggio ceiling mural valued at $335m.
Princess Rita Generatte Boncompagni Ludovisi, 73, was last week served with 60 days’ notice to leave the Casino dell’Aurora, the latest chapter in a years-long inheritance battle with her late husband’s three sons .
Ms Boncompagni Ludovici, a former actress, told Reuters she was “appalled” at the order to vacate her home and would appeal the decision.
The Casino dell’Aurora, located in central Rome, was built on the ancient gardens of Julius Caesar and houses artworks by famous Italian artists, such as Guercino and Caravaggio’s Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto.
According to Reuters, in 2018, Ms. Boncompagni Ludovisi was allowed to live in the villa for the rest of her life, following the death of her third husband, Prince Nicolo Francesco Boncompagni Ludovisi.
If sold, the proceeds would be divided between her and her late husband’s sons.
The Italian royal’s sons disputed the terms of his will, and they have been involved in a protracted legal dispute ever since.
The villa has since fallen into a state of disrepair, and an Italian court ordered its sale to resolve an inheritance dispute with Prince Niccolo’s sons.
It failed to sell in an online auction in January 2022 after court-appointed experts placed a minimum bid price on the villa of $380m (350 million euros).
Four more auctions held at lower prices also found no takers.
After the collapse of an exterior wall on the property forced the closure of a neighboring road, a judge ruled that the property was not being properly maintained and issued an eviction order, according to La Repubblica.
Ms Boncompagni Ludovici told Reuters she believed she would have been sidelined by the courts after she was offered unauthorized paid tours of the property to help with maintenance costs.
According to the Associated Press, the villa was built in 1570, and had belonged to the Ludovici family since the early 1600s.
The previous listing on auction by the Rome Tribunal described it as a “monumental property” on six levels that “stands among the most distinguished architectural and landscape beauties of pre-unification Rome”.
It has three garages, two roof terraces and a “luxurious garden with arboreal essence and tall trees, walkways, stairs and rest areas”.
Ms Boncompagni Ludovici has lived in the villa for 20 years, telling the Guardian in a recent interview that she has devoted “all her time and resources” to it.
Before marrying her Italian prince, Ms. Boncompagni Ludovisi worked in television and real estate in New York, according to Forbes, and helped broker Donald Trump’s purchase of the General Motors building in 1998.
She was previously married to former Congressman John Jenrette from North Carolina.
Ms Boncompagni Ludovici did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Independent.