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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 19 th 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, 5 th 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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Violence Against Women, The Patriarchy And Responsibility Of The Good Men Too

The femicide of Giulia Cecchettin has shaken Italy, and beyond. Argentine journalist Ignacio Pereyra looks at what lies behind femicides and why all men must take more responsibility.

A protester's sign referring to the alleged killer reads: Filippo isn't a monster, he's the healthy son of the patriarchy

Matteo Nardone/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press
Ignacio Pereyra

Updated Dec. 3, 2023 at 10:40 p.m.


ATHENS — Are you going to write about what happened in Italy?, Irene, my partner, asks me. I have no idea what she's talking about. She tells me: a case of femicide has shaken the country and has been causing a stir for two weeks.

As if the fact in itself were not enough, I ask what is different about this murder compared to the other 105 women murdered this year in Italy (or those that happen every day around the world).

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We are talking about a country where the expression "fai l'uomo" (be a man) abounds, with a society so prone to drama and tragedy and so fond of crime stories as few others, where the expression "crime of passion" is still mistakenly overused.

In this context, the sister of the victim reacted in an unexpected way for a country where femicide is not a crime recognized in the penal code, contrary to what happens, for example, in almost all of Latin America.

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