Live like Michelangelo: Artist’s Tuscan villa is up for sale

Art lovers take note: a sprawling villa once owned by the artist and sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti is on the market. And if you have a few million to spare, the masterpiece could be yours.

Live like Michelangelo: Artist's Tuscan villa is up for sale
Michelangelo's villa is on the market for €7.5 million. Photo: Handsome Properties International

The eight-bedroom villa, located near Siena, was bought by the Renaissance master in 1549 and remained in the Buonarroti family until 1867 – more than 300 years after his death.

The home, surrounded by the vineyards of Chianti and views of Tuscany’s rolling hills, could be yours for €7.5 million.

Whoever buys the villa, listed by the US-based property agency Handsome Properties International, will also get their hands on the original deed, which describes the Sistine Chapel painter as “a dear sculptor and Florentine citizen”.

“Since Michelangelo purchased the home in 1549, the home has only had three owners including the current owner, who possess the original deed to the property,” Annie Madren Young, an international consultant at Handsome Properties International, told The Local.

“The home is so special because it still showcases original details such as the barrelled brick ceiling and fireplaces.”

The property, believed to date back to the 11th century, also comes with eight bathrooms, an old mill and a lemon grove.

Even if you haven’t a spare few million in the bank to buy the property, it’s worth a look inside.

In pictures: A villa once owned by Michelangelo

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Secret Michelangelo room in Florence to open to public

For the first time, visitors will be able to enter a hidden cell in the Medici Chapels where Michelangelo is thought to have covered the walls with sketches.

Secret Michelangelo room in Florence to open to public
Drawings believed to be by Michelangelo in the Medici Chapels' secret room. Photo: Claudio Giovannini/AFP.

Until some 40 years ago, no one realized that it existed. And when curators discovered a secret room beneath the Medici Chapels in the Basilico di San Lorenzo in Florence, its walls covered in what appeared to be unknown sketches by the Renaissance master Michelangelo, they ordered it sealed to the public for conservation.

But the secret Michelangelo room could soon be permanently opened to visitors for the first time in history.

Florence’s Bargello museum, which also runs the Medici Chapels, wants to open the long-lost chamber to the public by 2020, Ansa reports.

Until now, only a few art experts – and the occasional lucky guest – have been permitted to enter the narrow cell, where historians believe that Michelangelo hid out in 1530 after he betrayed his patrons, the Medicis, by joining a revolt against their rule of Florence.

He resurfaced around two months later, when he was permitted to resume work on the Medici family’s monuments in the same chapel beneath which he had been hiding.

The artist, then 55, is thought to have spent the time doodling. The chamber’s walls are covered with sketches in charcoal and chalk, several of which resemble figures from Michelangelo’s other known works.

Photo: Claudio Giovannini/AFP.

Scholars disagree on whether, which and how many of the drawings are by Michelangelo. Some don’t seem good enough to have come from the master’s hand, while others echo such masterpieces as the statue of David, a drawing of Leda and the Swan, or parts of the Sistine Chapel.

The sketches were rediscovered in November 1975, when the director of the Medici Chapels museum at the time, Paolo Dal Poggetto, was trying to find a new route for visitors to exit. He found a trapdoor hidden beneath a wardrobe in the Medicis’ tomb room, which led down to a rectangular room that at the time was used to store coal.

Dal Poggetto had the chamber cleared, the walls – by then covered in coal dust, mould and mud – cleaned and the plaster removed fraction by fraction with scalpels. Gradually not only drawings but calculations, words and graffiti began to emerge.

Considered too fragile to open to visitors, the room remained sealed. In 2014, to mark the 450th anniversary of Michelangelo’s death, the museum created a virtual tour of the hidden chamber so that the public could at least admire it on a screen.

Opening the Michelangelo room comes as part of a plan by the Bargello’s director, Paola D’Agostino, to carry out renovations, reopen closed galleries and extend opening hours. 

Photo: Claudio Giovannini/AFP.