Saudi Crown Prince tours Berlusconi's villa, no offer yet
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Villa Certosa.
Rome - Prince Mohammed bin Nayef looked around Villa Certosa in 120-hectare estate, which comes complete with a fake volcano that erupts on command.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is considering selling his lavish Sardinian villa and has given a tour of the luxury estate to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, a source said on Tuesday.
Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Saudi Arabia, looked around Villa Certosa last week, but has not yet made any offer for the property, where Berlusconi used to entertain world leaders and show girls.
The estate sprawls over 120 hectares (296 acres) on Sardinia's exclusive Emerald Coast and comes complete with a fake volcano that erupts on command. It also has an amphitheatre and an underground grotto where small boats can dock.
The Crown Prince "toured the villa, but that's it so far. There have been no further steps forward," the source said.
Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported last week that Berlusconi was seeking 500 million euros ($552 million) for the Mediterranean estate, which came to symbolise his flamboyant lifestyle during his years in power.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited and his two teenage daughters were reported to have spent the summer there in 2002.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair once vacationed there with his wife Cherie, and in 2009, Spanish daily El Pais published a nude picture of former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek standing by one of the villa's several swimming pools.
The media tycoon also hosted wild parties there with scantily clad women. Berlusconi sued one Italian magazine that published photographs of him surrounded by women. He also denied allegations made in a Milan court that he invited prostitutes for weekends to the secluded residence.
Corriere della Sera said that although Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince had seen the property, it may be The Custodian of Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is really interested in buying the villa.
The Saudi King earlier this month abruptly ended a planned three-week stay in the French Riviera following a petition from some 150,000 residents who were angered by the closure of a public beach outside his villa.
Berlusconi, whose political fortunes have faded in recent years, has been said to be on the verge of selling the villa many times in recent years, including to Spanish, Russian and Chinese investors.
The former leader announced this month that he was selling 48 per cent of his AC Milan football club to a group led by Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol.