Gianni Versace’s Lake side villa has sold for a staggering $52 million. The buyer is reputed to be Russian multi-millionaire Arkady Novikov, a flamboyant restaurateur affectionately (or not, depending) known as the “Blini Baron.”
The house had been quietly on the market for some time and according to The Times, sold for $6 million over the asking price.
“The Russians are coming!” was a familiar cold war refrain that is coming true, true, true, along both the shores of lake Como and the Italian Riviera. Luxury properties are being snatched up throughout the region and there has already been some backlash from the local communities.
Not known for the subtle approach, I will certainly be interested to see what the “Blini Baron,” has in mind in the way of redecoration. Over-the-top is the word that first comes to mind, but time will tell. Assuming he can raise the financing that is – so maybe this doesn’t mean the end of tours around the property?
Novikov was quoted in an interview as saying, “I am often asked whether I’m going to expand my company. I always tell myself, ‘Enough. Stop’ But I can’t stop!”
The Villa Le Fontanelle was originally built in 1776 and previously owned by the Cambiaghi family. Versace purchased and completely refurbished the property in 1977, restoring the beautiful neo-classic style faithfully. Versace himself supervised every step of the process and apparently selected every item in the house personally. Although the restoration of the grounds and gardens was left in the capable hands of Sir Roy Strong. The Lake Como villa was Versace’s favorite haunt, and he certainly seems to have been most at home there.