Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi

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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.[1]


  1. ^ "Villa Aurora, Rome's best kept secret?". Minor Sights. Retrieved 20 November 2016.

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Coordinates: 41°54′27″N 12°29′15″E / 41.9074°N 12.4875°E / 41.9074; 12.4875