The former Italian Prime Minister, media mogul and notorious womaniser died in June aged 86, leaving most of his titanic estate to his five children – save for 100 million euros earmarked for his 33-year-old lover, MP Marta Fascina.
Now, his children have decided to sell arguably his most prized asset, a sprawling estate named Villa Certosa set amid a 110-hectare estate on Costa Smeralda on the northeast coast of Sardinia.
Villa Certosa boasts just about every vulgar accoutrement required to satisfy the most demanding superstar, status-conscious Russian billionaire or even aspiring James Bond villain in search of an improbable lair.
The stunning property overlooking the Mediterranean Sea comes equipped with all manner of luxurious facilities including five swimming pools, spas, tennis courts, and even its very own faux amphitheatre.
As such, it became Berlsuconi’s preferred location for hosting some of the world’s most powerful and influential figures, including former US President George W Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair – not forgetting his ‘dear friend’, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Blair and his wife Cherie were welcomed to Certosa villa with a specially-designed £50,000 firework show which lit up the night sky with the words ‘Viva Tony’.
Putin meanwhile was a regular at Berlusconi’s Sardinian haunt, enjoying a string of vacations on the sun-kissed coastal jewel from 2003 onward.
Villa Certosa in Sardinia, Italy is home to this amphitheatre complex
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s villa ‘Villa Certosa’, Porto Rotondo, near Olbia, Sardinia
Villa Certosa boasts just about every vulgar accoutrement required to satisfy the most demanding superstar, status-conscious Russian billionaire or even aspiring James Bond villain in search of an improbable lair
FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Tony Blair (R) and his wife Cherie (C) meet with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi (L) in Porto Cervo, Sardinia Island, Italy, Monday 16 August 2004. Tony Blair and his wife were guests of Berlusconi at his Certosa Villa in Sardinia
FILE PHOTO: April 2008 – Italian Prime Minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi (R) gestures to journalist during a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) at Berlusconi’s private summer residence villa ‘La Certosa’
FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi (R) drive an electric buggy as they arrive to attend a joint press conference at Berlusconi’s private summer residence villa ‘La Certosa’ on April 18, 2008
A monument to ostentation, the villa stuns any visitors with a mock volcano in its grounds, which at the flick of a switch emits the sound of eruption and sends fake lava cascading out of its cone.
Along with the five regular swimming pools, Certosa also boasts a man-made lagoon, full-size football pitch, golf course, and helipad.
In 2009, when the tycoon was in his final stint as Italy’s leader, it was also the scene of a scandal.
Photographs published in Spain – he took legal action to prevent them appearing in Italy – showed not just topless women but a naked man cavorting by the pool, later identified as former Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek.
Berlusconi attempted to brush it off with his usual brashness. His guests, he explained, were taking a shower, adding: ‘Do you take a shower in jacket and tie?’
For guests for whom discretion was paramount, the villa could be accessed via a secret tunnel hollowed out of a cave, allowing visitors to disembark from their boats beyond the gaze of the paparazzi.
The property was coveted by many of the world’s wealthiest, but Berlusconi reportedly rebuffed any offers no matter the value.
Italian media reported in 2015 that the Saudi royal family offered to pay the €500million asking price – their second unsuccessful attempt to pry the villa away from Berlusconi.
Now, Berlusconi’s five children have reportedly decided to sell off most of their father’s real estate, including the Certosa villa.
But one special home will remain in the family, according to sources cited by Italy’s ANSA news service late last year.
Villa San Martino near Milan – the site of the former PM’s infamous ‘bunga bunga’ orgies – is not to be sold.
An image of Poseidon is embossed in the floor of the Villa Certosa’s indoor lagoon
This image reportedly shows an interior lagoon in the Villa Certosa
Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s villa ‘Villa Certosa’, Porto Rotondo, near Olbia, Sardinia, Italy
Villa San Martino in Lombardy began as the Berlusconi family home, but became infamous for the Italian Prime Minister’s Bunga Bunga parties
Billionaire and Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi was as famous for his ‘bunga-bunga’ sex parties and for being prime minister three times
Ruby the Heart Stealer (real name Karima Keyek) was the 17-year-old Moroccan-born prostitute who stole Berlusconi’s affections at one of many bunga bunga parties
Bought with the proceeds of his investment in Italy’s construction boom of the 1960s, Berlusconi crammed the mansion with Renaissance paintings and other treasures.
The artworks were the backdrop to his not-so-family-friendly parties, where a star guest was a 17-year-old Moroccan-born dancer nicknamed ‘Ruby the Heart Stealer’.
The basement is where he is said to have watched showgirls from his own TV channels offering pole dances and stripteases dressed as nuns – occasions Berlusconi later described as ‘elegant soirees’.
Now, the mansion serves as the resting place for Berlusconi’s ashes.
‘Villa San Martino must stay alive. We want it to remain the venue for business meetings, as well as, of course, the meeting point for our family,’ said Berlsuconi’s daughter Marina, who is also the chair of the family’s holding company Fininvest.
‘It is what (my father) would have wished.’
Marina is also expected to maintain ownership of Villa Campari, a mansion on northern Italy’s Lake Maggiore, while younger sister Barbara is set to buy Villa Macherio near Milan.
Berlusconi is pictured with his 33-year-old ‘wife’ Marta Fascina, an MP in his Forza Italia party
One of Berlusconi’s two lakeside homes, Villa Belinzaghi in Como will set you back £11million – but your neighbour is George Clooney
Palazzo Grazioli is a massive townhouse in the centre of Rome filled with art
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s residency Villa Gernetto, in Lesmo. This is where he staged his ‘wedding’ to 33-year-old Marta Fascina
Berlusconi’s property at Emerald Cove on the Caribbean island of Antigua
Paraggi Castle in Portofino is a 17th Century fort owned by Berlusconi which was once occupied by Napoleon’s troops
Among the notable residences up for sale is Villa Grande, situated on Rome’s ancient Appian Way, once owned by film and opera director Franco Zeffirelli, and Villa Gernetto, a sprawling residence in Lesmo where Berlusconi staged his pseudo wedding to Fascina.
The Berlusconi children, conscious of avoiding family disputes over inheritance, recently signed an accord outlining the distribution of Fininvest.
It is unclear whether Fascina – 53 years Berlusconi’s junior – will be granted any of Berlusconi’s former properties.
The pair never formally married, reportedly due to the concerns of the Berlusconi family who were wary of Fascina trying to muscle in on the inheritance.
But Fascina did receive a tidy sum of €100 million upon her elderly lover’s death.