In Memoriam: HSH Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi (Rome 21 January 1941—Rome 8 March 2018)

HSH Prince Nicolò Francesco Boncompagni Ludovisi, KHDM, KJCO, head of one of Italy’s oldest and most distinguished noble families, died in Rome at his ancestral home the Villa Aurora on 8 March 2018. He was 77 years old.

The Prince was the 11th great grandson of Pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572-1585), who introduced the Gregorian Calendar, and 10th great grandnephew of Pope Gregory XV Ludovisi (1621-1623), who founded the modern system of Papal elections. His funeral was held according to traditional noble custom in Rome on 10 March at the church of St. Ignazio, built by his 9th great granduncle Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi.

A memorial Mass will be held on Tuesday 17 April 2018, also at St. Ignazio. Officiating will be Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi was educated primarily in Switzerland, at Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz, and then at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich, from which he received an honors degree in Chemical Engineering in 1966. For his scientific accomplishments, in 1972 he was inducted into the Accademia Tiberina as a Resident Member, and later elected as a Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg, Austria. Following his graduation from ETH, Prince Nicolò bought and restored historic properties in the city of Rome, and developed the largest tufa quarry in the world in Riano, just 21 km north of Rome. The Prince also long played a leadership role in Rome’s Circolo della Caccia, including that of Head of the Hunt.

The preservation effort that Prince Nicolò and his wife HSH Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi directed toward their home the Villa Aurora—the last fully intact survival of central Rome’s largest and grandest garden estate, the Villa Ludovisi—received much international attention in the past decade, including from The New York Times (2010) and CBS Sunday Morning (2017).

The Boncompagni family first came to Italy in the year 980 with Emperor Otto II; they united with the papal Ludovisi, since 1634 also sovereign Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, in 1681. In addition to its two Popes, the family counts 17 cardinals, and numerous men and women prominent in politics, arts and letters, and the sciences. Five members of the family served as Senators of the Kingdom of Italy.

Prince Nicolò was born in Rome in 1941 as the grandson of Prince Antonio Francesco Maria and Princess Nicoletta (Prinetti Castelletti) Boncompagni Ludovisi, and the son of Prince Gregorio and Princess Bonacossa (Aliotti) Boncompagni Ludovisi. He held as his major title that of Prince of Piombino, as well as those of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, Prince of Venosa, Duke of Sora, Duke of Arce, Duke of Monterotondo, Marquess of Populonia, Marquess of Vignola, Count of Conza, Noble of Rome, Patrician of Naples, Patrician of Venice, Patrician of Genoa, Patrician of Bologna, Patrician of Ravenna, Patrician of Pisa, Noble of Jesi, Noble of Rieti, Noble of Orvieto, and Grandee of Spain (First Class).

Prince Nicolò leaves three sons from a first marriage, and seven grandchildren, each with the title of Prince or Princess: Francesco Maria KHDM, father of Gregorio and Lavinia with Violante Guerrieri Gonzaga; Ignazio Maria, father of Maria, Costanza Maria and Jacopo Maria with Gaia Bulgari; and Bante Maria, with his wife Delphina Lapham parents of Ugo Maria and Urbano Maria. Prince Nicolò is survived by his wife of nine years, Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, an American-born actress, writer, television journalist, and preservationist.


  1. Zoe Feuerbacher says:

    I learned of the Prince’s passing while visiting a schoolmate in Hawaii in May. I passed the information along to other St. Mary’s classmates yesterday and we wanted to let Princess Rita know that we extend our condolences to her. We have followed her story and wanted to reach out and let her know we are thinking of her. Zoe Partain Feuerbacher, Susan Seals Stoner, Vickie Goodnight Sneed, Judy Johnson Hyatt, Bernadette Logue McFarland, Cheryl Quadlander, Debi Vyvjala, Becky Villasenor Burrisk and Mary Pedro Bridgefarmer. (St. Mary’s Academy, Austin, TX,
    Class of 1969)

  2. Stanislav Bogdanov says:

    It was only yesterday I’ve learned about the passing of HSH Prince Nicolò Francesco Boncompagni Ludovisi and could not keep myself from remembering those days in late 80-th when I had an honor and great pleasure working with him as interpreter and assistant during his visits to St.-Petersburg, Russia, which were quite frequent those days. Meeting the man of such scope and spending with him around 20 hours per day for almost a week every month, observing and learning what and how he does at the earliest stage of your career can’t but alter your entire life, and that’s exactly what happened to mine. I owe you much, and I will always remember our meetings with warmth and fondness. Rest in Pease, Principe

  3. Patty Kenney says:

    Wow what a fairytale lovestory encounter how wonderful for them both. So sorry for her that it ended but at least she had those precious moments in time with him. N the memories now that he is gone.


  1. […] it is with great sadness that Rutgers Classics reports the death of the head of family, HSH Prince Nicolò Francesco Boncompagni Ludovisi, aged 77, on 8 March 2018, at his ancestral home of the Casino Aurora in Rome. Trained as a […]

  2. […] princess is the widow of his Serene Highness Prince Nicolò Boncompagni-Ludovisi, who died in 2018. Born Rita Carpenter in Texas 72 years ago, she’s had a colorful and […]

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