- Casino Ludovisi Rome
- Casino Ludovisi Roma Visite
I might be an American in Rome, but there is actually an American princess in Rome and she lives at Villa Ludovisi. Sometimes known as Villa Aurora, the palatial dwelling is hidden behind Via Veneto and is the real-life home of HSH Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi. She has the distinct honor of living with the only fresco Caravaggio ever painted.
Now, let’s be clear: there is no longer a recognized royal family in Italy. However, the Ludovisis were royalty. The princess is originally from Texas, but she gained her titled when she married HSH Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi in 2009.
In 1621, Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, whose artist pals included A-listers like Bernini and Guercino, purchased the estate in a clever real-estate deal that made this the family’s Roman power base. A mug shot of Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Villa Ludovisi was a suburban villa in Rome, built in the 17th century on the area once occupied by the Gardens of Sallust (Horti Sallustiani) near the Porta Salaria.
Frescoes in the Casino dell'Aurora, Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, Rome (1621). Live in Rome unforgettable experiences though food art, shopping and extraordinary places. SPA & WELLNESS Baglioni SPA by Caschera SPA at the Baglioni Hotel Regina, Rome is a metropolitan oasis where to rediscover harmony between mind and body, dedicated to all who want to experience authentic beauty and wellbeing. This is a very unique tour, either if you are a first time visitor or you came to Rome many times. The Casino of Aurora is what's left of Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, house of Pope Gregory XV, which in the 1500's was called the villa which had the most beautiful gardens in the world.
The Texan was previously known as Rita Jenrette, and was once married to U.S. Representative Jon Jenrette. However, her third husband was the reason she moved to Rome. She met him when she worked in real estate and was showing off one of his Italian properties to a client interested in building a hotel.
Prince Ludovisi’s title comes from Piombino – a state that his family once ruled until it was abolished by Napoleon. Their holdings have now been reduced to 7 acres of gardens and the lovely Villa Aurora, which is filled with priceless artwork.
The Ludovisis are related to Pope Gregory XV. They went on to become nobility thanks to their close Papal connections. Their property once covered most of this side of Rome, near Villa Borghese and the Spanish Steps. But it was sold off and subdivided to create the exclusive neighborhood around Via Veneto.
Casino Ludovisi Rome
Villa Aurora inside Villa Ludovisi takes its name from a fresco of the same title by Guercino. However, Villa Aurora is best known for having the only Caravaggio fresco in existence. Caravaggio is famous for his moody portraits with incredible lighting but these were all painted on canvas. This image is painting directly onto the ceiling, so it can never be moved outside of Villa Aurora.
The work was commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte, who contracted Caravaggio to paint the three gods Jupiter, Pluto and Neptune on the plaster ceiling of his alchemy lab.
While this is Caravaggio’s only fresco, art lovers will be able to tell you that it is not technically a fresco. Fresco is Italian for “fresh” because a true fresco is painted onto fresh plaster that has never been allowed to dry. This, however, was painted by Caravaggio using oil paints, directly onto the dried plaster of the villa’s ceiling.
Every figure in the painting has Caravaggio’s own features and all three are considered to be self-portraits. Except for the dog – but the dog is modeled on Caravaggio’s own canine companion.
This priceless artwork was not to everyone’s taste. At some point in history, the fresco was whitewashed over. This might have something to do with the full frontal male nudity that Caravaggio included here.
Luckily, it was rediscovered in the 1960s. It is located in a small hallway (or anteroom) and takes up most of the ceiling in the narrow space. The Princess mentioned that she now uses the area when she does yoga. (What an incredible place to work out, no?)
How to Visit Villa Aurora
It is humbling to visit the Ludovisi Villa. There are lots of masterpieces to be seen in Rome, but it is rare that you are invited into someone’s home to see a masterpiece in such an intimate setting.
There are works by Guercino and Caravaggio, but also family photos dotting side tables and mixed in with the period furniture.
The villa was first built as hunting lodge in 1570 and now takes up a cool 32,000 square feet on some of the most valuable real estate in Rome. If you visit Villa Aurora, you will be given a tour of some of the front rooms on the ground floor, take a quick peek at the gardens, and then head upstairs to see the Caravaggio fresco and another room that is still being renovated.
It is only possible to visit Villa Aurora with a pre-arranged private tour that the princess will lead herself. This is because this is still the Ludovisi family’s home.
The cost is €300 for a private tour which lasts about 1.5 hours. For that fee, up to 15 people can visit (€20/person). It is worth it to get a group of like-minded friends together to explore the villa because it is your only chance to ever see a Caravaggio fresco. You can also spring that much for a smaller group, or a truly private tour.
To book a tour of Villa Aurora, you must contact [email protected] or call +39 06 483942 (lun, mer, ven 9-13).
You might be lucky enough to be surprised by the chance to see their archives at the end of the tour. If you don’t get to see the letters from Marie Antoinette (!!) in person, you can browse the Ludovisi digital archives here.
There are other ways to see Caravaggio painting in Rome even if you are not able to arrange a visit to Villa Aurora. One of my favorites hangs in a church in Piazza del Popolo, and there are several famous paintings at Palazzo Barberini. However, it is worth effort to meet the princess and see her one-of-a-kind Caravaggio fresco.
The Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi (also known as the Villa Aurora or the Casino dell'Aurora) is a villa in Porta Pinciana, Rome, Italy. Measuring 2.200 square meters, it is all that remains of a country retreat, best known as Villa Ludovisi, established in the 16th century by Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte. The Cardinal was a diplomat, intellectual, art connoisseur, collector, and protector and patron of such very different figures as Galileo and Caravaggio. The Casino is often referred to as the Villa Aurora, after the important fresco by Guercino, located in the Villa's main reception room, depicting the goddess Aurora. One of the smaller rooms of the casino boasts the only painting ever executed by Caravaggio on a ceiling, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, which reflects, in symbolic imagery derived from Classical mythology, another of the cardinal's interests, alchemy.
Del Monte sold the Villa Ludovisi and its extensive grounds to Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi in 1621. Due to the Ludovisi's family financial duress, the whole park was sold off in the 1880s and built up with hotels and expensive houses, including palazzi for members of the family. The facade of the main casino or Casino Grande (a separate building) is now hidden behind the 19th-century Palazzo Margherita. This building was acquired by the Italian State and became the residence of Queen Mother Margherita. It now houses the U.S. embassy.
The only part not sold was the Villa Aurora, which remains in the possession of the Ludovisi family, encircled by high walls and open to the public on written request. Apart from the works by Caravaggio and Guercino, it contains important works of art by Pomarancio, Michelangelo, and a collection of Roman and Greek artefacts.
- ^'Villa Aurora, Rome's best kept secret?'. Minor Sights. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
Casino Ludovisi Roma Visite
Coordinates: 41°54′27″N12°29′15″E / 41.9074°N 12.4875°E
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