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A Touch of Modernity Finally Arrives in the Eternal City

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The 2,500-year-old city of Rome has always paled in comparison to its northern neighbor Milan when it comes to modern design. The Italian capital has long been content with its ancient architectural marvels, like the Colosseum and Pantheon, but recently the city's denizens have been upping their game with cunning combinations of old and new. Modern renovations hiding behind antique facades? Sold. Well, not yet for these four properties, which are all on the market in Rome at the moment. The Lakshmi Villa—sorry, no Padma connection, although she lived in Italy for six years—was just another prewar villa close to St. Peter's Square before a duo of local architects got their hands on it (above). The three-story structure features two bedrooms, two offices, an open spiral staircase, and a stunning garden visible though floor-to-ceiling glass. The 3,770-square-foot villa is for sale, but you'll have to show some serious interest to hear the price.

? Just south of St. Peter's Square, this apartment sits in a postwar building and boasts stunning views of the Vatican. After a recent renovation, the 1,077-square-foot studio mixes the living room, dining room, bedroom, and bathroom in a strange configuration, with the bed and bathtub next each other. It doesn't surprise us that the brokers haven't released a price; valuing this unique space would be a challenger.

? Located in the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere, this modern renovation is a unit on the fourth floor of an "ancient palace." Though small at just 754 square feet, the apartment was outfitted by a noted Italian architect. An explanation for the couch/table/television orientation in the living room would be welcome, as would a price tag.

? A fine example of the trend toward lofts in older Roman buildings, this apartment was expanded by installing a steel second floor to make the most of the absurdly high ceilings. Located some 650 feet from the Pantheon, the 13th-century facade makes for an unlikely prelude to the contemporary feel of the interior. And finally the brokers are willing to make the first move on pricing: $666K for a 322-square-foot pied-a-terre. Pricey to say the least, but something tells us that might be because the broker lists in English.

· Lakshmi Villa [Real Estate in Rome]
· Regina Open Space [Real Estate in Rome]
· Miro Hi-Tech [Real Estate in Rome]
· Collegio Apartment [Real Estate in Rome]