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LA STAMPA

Is An Ancient Egyptian Curse Killing The Sale Of A 30-Million-Euro Italian Villa?

Villa Altachiara is among the most luxurious residences on the Italian Riviera. After the mysterious death of the last owner, it has become impossible to find a buyer. Superstitious locals blame a curse dating back to ancient Egypt's King Tutankh

Such views are priceless (luxuo)
Such views are priceless (luxuo)

PORTOFINO - Perched on a cliff along the Italian Riviera, the Villa Altachiara is one of the Mediterranean's most luxurious, picturesque – and pricey -- estates.

But beyond its 1000 square meters, 40 rooms and breathtaking views of the sea, some say that this 19th century mansion comes with another feature: a curse, punctuated by the mysterious death of its last resident, the Countess Francesca Vacca Agusta, who fell into the sea on a stormy night in 2001

Add all this up, and an estimated value of 33.7 million euros, and the Villa Altachiara has become a tricky selling proposition for even the sharpest of Italian real estate agents.

After years of going unsold, the asking price will by knocked down by one-fifth for a planned auction set to open in May. The upcoming sale comes after the foreclosure in 2007 of Dmc, a holding company established by the current owners of the property, Maurizio Raggio and Tirso Chazaro, a pair of former companions of countess Agusta.

The villa's history dates back to the late 1800s when it was built by George Edward Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, the English aristocrat who would go on to discover the tomb of Tutankhamun, shortly before dying in 1923. A young female relative of Lord Carnavon would later slip on a steep cliff-side ladder and fall to her death.

Indeed, the superstitious say the curse was placed on the mansion by the Egyptian tomb discoveries of its first owner.

Since Agusta's death, exactly 13 potential buyers opened negotiations to buy the Villa Altachiara, but no deal was ever reached. Current co-owner Raggio denies rumors that Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich might be interested.

"The Russians are rich," he said. "But not rich enough."

Read more from La Stampa in Italian

photo - luxuo

*NEWSBITES are digest items, not direct translations

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 225: As Ground Forces Collapse, Russia Steps Up Air Attacks On Civilian Targets

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The apartment leveled by a Russian rocket

Cover Images via ZUMA
Anna Akage, Sophia Constantino, Jeff Israely and Meike Eijsberg

A series of missile attacks early Thursday on Ukraine's southern city of Zaporizhzhia have left at least three killed, and five people still unaccounted for. The barrage of at least seven missiles appear to have targeted civilian areas, flattening one apartment building. Russia also launched two rockets at the central Ukrainian city of Khmelnytsky, but both reportedly missed their targets.

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Experts warn that we may see more civilian targets hit, as we did in the first days of the successful Ukrainian counter-offensive last month when Russia knocked out the power grid that caused blackouts across the northeast region of Kharkiv.

Ukrainian authorities also report that Russia continues to use Iranian kamikaze drones to target cities, including Kharkiv and Odessa. Ukraine’s military says they managed to shoot down 18 additional drones before they reached their targets.

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