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Monday, December 4, 2023

Texan princess evicted from Rome villa, Caravaggio stays

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ROME — A Texas-born princess piled her 4 yapping bichon frise canine right into a taxi Thursday after being evicted, following a bitter inheritance dispute, from a historic villa in Rome that comprises the one identified ceiling painted by Caravaggio.

Princess Rita Jenrette Boncompagni Ludovisi, nee Rita Carpenter, deserted the On line casino dell’Aurora off the swank By way of Veneto hours after Carabinieri police arrived to implement a court-mandated eviction order. Earlier than she had even left, a locksmith modified the locks on the massive inexperienced entrance door.

Her dramatic exit — one of many canine briefly escaped as she spoke to journalists on the road — capped a outstanding, years-long cleaning soap opera that uncovered the soiled laundry of one in all Rome’s aristocratic households. The Boncompagni Ludovisi are maybe finest identified for having produced Pope Gregory XIII of Gregorian calendar fame. However these days they’ve attracted extra consideration as a result of inheritance dispute and court-mandated public sale of their well-known villa within the coronary heart of Rome.

“I really feel like I’m in a surreal film, like Sartre’s ‘No Exit,’” the princess mentioned on the road, interrupted repeatedly by a barking fluffy white canine in her arms and three others at her ankles.

On line casino dell’Aurora, also referred to as the Villa Ludovisi, has been within the Ludovisi household because the early 1600s. After Prince Nicolo Boncompagni Ludovisi died in 2018, the villa turned the topic of an inheritance dispute between the youngsters from his first marriage and his third spouse, the San Antonio, Texas-born Princess Rita, whom he married in 2009.

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Beforehand, she had been married to former U.S. Rep. John Jenrette Jr. of South Carolina.

The youngsters have argued that the house, inbuilt 1570, belongs to them, that their grandfather meant for them to inherit it, and that their late father abused them and mismanaged his fortune. They mounted a multi-pronged authorized marketing campaign to get management of the property so it may be offered.

The most recent chapter within the saga got here in January after Rome Decide Miriam Iappelli issued an eviction order, accusing the princess of getting violated a earlier order forbidding her from conducting guided excursions of the property.

Boncompagni Ludovisi has mentioned the excursions had been crucial to lift cash to keep up the villa. As well as, the decide discovered that the princess had failed to keep up the house in a “good state of conservation” after an exterior wall crumbled.

One of many heirs, Prince Bante Boncompagni Ludovisi, was readily available Thursday on the villa to observe “that girl,” as he refers to his father’s widow, depart the property.

“This home wants renovations. The pipelines of water have to be restored and the frescoes are at risk,” he instructed reporters. “It is a nation: We have now our police, now we have our judges and it’s good to respect our nation and our legal guidelines when you keep right here.”

It’s not clear who will now undertake the work on the home, which wants a minimum of 11 million euros in renovations to deliver it as much as code.

The villa was placed on the court-ordered public sale block final 12 months as a part of the inheritance dispute and assigned a court-appraised worth of 471 million euros ($533 million), largely as a result of Caravaggio. After the minimal bid of 353 million euros ($400 million) did not get any takers within the first public sale, the value was progressively lowered in a sequence of successive auctions, with extra scheduled till a purchaser is discovered.

The Caravaggio ceiling graces a tiny room off a spiral staircase on the second flooring. It was commissioned in 1597 by a diplomat and patron of the humanities who requested the then-young painter to embellish the ceiling of the small room getting used as an alchemy workshop. The two.75-meter (9-foot) huge mural, which depicts Jupiter, Pluto and Neptune, is uncommon: It’s not a fresco, however fairly oil paint on plaster, and represents the one ceiling mural that Caravaggio is thought to have painted.

Whereas the villa’s destiny is unsure, so too is that of the princess.

Vowing that the reality will finally come out (and saying a e book deal), Boncompagni Ludovisi insisted she had cared for the villa throughout her twenty years residing there and digitized the household’s archive, with the assistance of Rutgers College.

“I see no logic on this. I used to be an excellent custodian for the villa,” she mentioned.

She didn’t say the place she would go subsequent, although she famous that the Episcopal Church in Rome had reached out to assist.

“I really like Italy and I’m so sorry to have such a brutal ending to what has been a labor of affection for 20 years,” she mentioned. Her e book, on the villa and its well-known ceiling, is anticipated to be printed on the finish of the 12 months.

“It’s devoted to my husband, Nicolo,” she mentioned, earlier than rushing off with the canine in a taxi into the Roman site visitors.

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