- "A key force in the protection of Monteriggioni for hundreds of years and a source of great architectural innovation..."
- ―Commemorative plaque for the Villa Auditore, 2012.[src]
Purchased by the family sometime after 1321, it remained the home to the Auditore up until the turn of the 16th century, when it was heavily damaged during the siege of Monteriggioni.
The villa was constructed in 1290. Thirty years later, in 1320, a Florentine attack left the facade damaged, and in need of reconstruction. Some time after the death of Dante Alighieri in 1321, Domenico Auditore purchased the Villa, and subsequently erected a new facade, as well as a painting gallery within the building. He redesigned the Villa as both a home, fortress and a training ground for the town.
The building itself was filled with several hidden compartments and rooms, whilst the grounds catered to a number of different uses. Following this, Domenico constructed a family crypt, which would later be connected to an escape route within the Villa that led out to the north of Monteriggioni.
- "She's seen better days, I suppose. Believe me, I'd have her shining again... if only I had the time."
- ―Mario Auditore, on the villa's decrepit state, 1476.[src]
By 1436, the Villa hosted the newest generation of Auditore Assassins: the brothers Mario and Giovanni Auditore. Following the death of their father and Giovanni's departure for Florence, Mario became the sole ruler of Monteriggioni, and main resident of the Villa in 1454.
Despite Mario's love for the building, both Monteriggioni and the Villa receded into disrepair due to him focusing his spending on warfare and mercenaries, rather than its upkeep. Instead, the Villa was mostly used for the storage of weapons and war equipment, and at one point, even a mysterious artifact that Mario had discovered hidden under Monteriggioni. During the city's defense in 1454, the Villa was also where Mario and his mercenaries interrogated Luciano Pezzati, a spy for the invading Florentine army.
In 1476, Mario's nephew, Ezio Auditore, as well as his mother and sister, came seeking refuge in Monteriggioni after the execution of his father Giovanni and brothers, Federico and Petruccio. After resting in the Villa, Ezio intended to take his mother and sister to Spain, much to Mario's protests.
Eventually, Ezio decided to remain in Monteriggioni and seek revenge on those responsible for the execution of his male kin. He became, in effect, co-ruler of Monteriggioni with Mario, and the renovations he funded and oversaw proved to herald a rebirth for the Villa and the city's overall state. Although the exact length of time it took for the Villa to be rebuilt is unknown, the Villa once again became an opulent structure and headquarters for the Italian Assassin Brotherhood by late December 1499.
However, on 2 January 1500, the Papal forces led by Cesare Borgia besieged Monteriggioni, devastating the town and its Villa, while also killing Mario in the process. After this, the Villa was abandoned, as Ezio left the ruins of Monteriggioni to wage war against the Borgia family in Rome.
At some point over the next 50 years, the Auditore regained control over Monteriggioni, though apparently did not move back into the Villa, as much of the damage sustained in the 1500 siege remained visible in 2012. In 1554, the Auditore were betrayed by Giovannino Zeti, keeper of the garrison and a Florentine exile, who gave the keys of the city to the Medici family. The Medici conquered Monteriggioni, though they allowed the Auditore to continue ruling the city as their vassals due to their families' good relationship.
- Desmond: "Wait. We're at the Auditore Villa?"
- Lucy: "Yes. It's our last safehouse in Italy."
- ―The Assassins arriving at the Villa.[src]
By 2012, the Villa had become a World Preservation Site, and was heralded as "one of the Tuscan countryside's most beloved landmarks." A plaque displayed before the Villa contained details of its construction, as well as how it had been destroyed in Pope Alexander VI's military campaign in 1500.
On 9 September 2012, Desmond Miles, Lucy Stillman, Rebecca Crane, and Shaun Hastings set up a temporary base of operations within the Sanctuary beneath the Villa to escape the Templars searching for them. Throughout their stay, which lasted until October 10, the Assassins lived within the Villa, and came out only to collect provisions.
The Villa Auditore had several rooms, some of which were hidden.
It was well-furnished, even in its state of disrepair, and was spacious and featured an elegant design. A large marble staircase occupied the center, leading to the second floor, while a chandelier hung from above. Several famous paintings, such as Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci and The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli that were purchased by Ezio decorated the walls of the main hall.
In the armory, Ezio was able to change his equipped weapons or armor within two separate rooms. The armor room contained the five sets of armor available to Ezio. The Armor of Altaïr, once unlocked from the Sanctuary, was situated at the back of the armory.
The center of the armory contained a model of the Flying Machine used during the assassination of Carlo Grimaldi in Venice, along with a model of the carriage Ezio drove in the Apennine Mountains with Leonardo da Vinci.
The weapons room contained Ezio's weapons, spread throughout several weapons racks. The left rack held the Schiavona, the common, the Captain's, and the Milanese swords. Meanwhile, the right rack possessed the Sword of Altaïr, the Old Syrian sword, the Scimitar, and the Venetian and Florentine falchions.
The other side had a rack which contained the Mercenario and the Condottiero warhammers, the Maul, and the Flanged and Cavalieri maces. The center of the room had a double sided rack that contained the small weapons, comprised of the Dagger, Knife, Stiletto, Channeled and Notched cinquedeas, and the Sultan's and Butcher's knives.
The workshop was a room which contained several shelves lined with books, and a scale replica of Monteriggioni. Claudia Auditore occupied this room during Ezio's hunt for Rodrigo Borgia, keeping track of the city's finances and maintaining records of the Villa's refurbishment.
Monteriggioni's resident architect was also present here, through whom Ezio made decisions regarding upgrades to the villa. This was also the place where Leonardo da Vinci set up his workshop after being invited to stay at the Villa by Mario Auditore.
Mario Auditore's study was a room where Mario and Ezio would discuss the operations of the Assassin Order, including details of various missions Ezio would undertake. Before Ezio joined in the efforts of the Assassins though, the study had been the room in which his father, Giovanni, and Mario discussed plans for the order and missions.
The Codex Wall was located in the study, and the pages kept within it were added by Ezio once they were found throughout his journeys across Italy, after they had been decoded by Leonardo da Vinci. A few of the pages that had been on the wall were ones decoded by Giovanni. Standing before the Codex Wall was a pedestal meant for holding the Apple of Eden. The pedestal was placed in a way so that the light emitted from the artifact would mark locations on the map beneath the pages.
By 1499, Ezio had collected all of the Codex pages. From there, he used his Eagle Vision to orient the pieces into their proper positions. When the puzzle was solved, the wall revealed a complete map of the world marked with the locations of the Pieces of Eden and the different Vaults and Temples.
Beyond the Codex Wall was Mario's desk, where he did writing work and presumably kept track of the Brotherhood. As well as this, there was a large bookcase in the room, which concealed a mechanism that hid the stairs to a place known as the Sanctuary. Finally, above the study was a balcony, which would connect to a corridor that led to the entrances of the workshop, and Maria and Ezio's rooms.
Maria Auditore's room was the bedroom of Maria Auditore, located on the second floor of the villa. Like the rest of the villa, it was well furnished, and included a box for feathers that Ezio collected for her in memory of her youngest son and his brother, Petruccio.
Maria spent around 20 years praying in this room, constantly in mourning for the loss of Petruccio. However, when Ezio had finally collected one hundred feathers, persisting even after his uncle Mario had written off Maria's grief as a hopeless cause, she finally spoke, thanking her son for not giving up on her.
Ezio Auditore's room was located at the top floor of the Villa Auditore. It served as a bedroom, study, and base of operations during his twenty-three year crusade to avenge his fallen father and two brothers, who were executed by members of the Templar Order. Paintings of Ezio's assassination targets would be hung in his room after he had killed them.
The room was supported by a wooden beam running up from the middle of the floor to the ceiling, and was taken up mostly by a desk littered with letters and documents. Ezio's room was slightly altered just before the siege of Monteriggioni, with the addition of a large bed and a bath tub, with a set of stairs leading up to it instead of a ladder. These were possibly added after Ezio had upgraded the Villa.
In 1500, Ezio spent the night with Caterina Sforza when the city was attacked in the siege. A cannonball crashed through the wall of his room and damaged the wooden support beam in the center of the structure, causing the ceiling to collapse and cave in over half of the room.
As a result, debris from the ceiling fell onto the Armor of Altaïr, prompting Ezio to leave it behind to engage in defending the Villa.
- Main article: Painting gallery
At some point during 1454, Mario utilized the painting gallery in the Villa, taking advantage of his brother's connections in Florence to import fine art.
From 1476 to 1499, Ezio gathered pieces of Renaissance artwork from art merchants in several different cities during his travels, which were displayed in the villa's painting gallery. However, the paintings were either destroyed or stolen by the Borgia following the siege of Monteriggioni in 1500.
- Main article: Sanctuary
The Sanctuary was a stone chamber located in Monteriggioni, and was used by Assassins in both the Renaissance and modern times. It was a well-built chamber found underneath the Villa Auditore, and could be accessed primarily through an entrance hidden behind a bookshelf in the Villa study.
Statues of seven legendary Assassins lined the walls. Six of these statues had corresponding seals at their base, which had to be collected and returned, in order to unlock the gate in front of the seventh statue of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. This seventh statue also held the Armor of Altaïr until it was recovered by Ezio Auditore.
- While the Villa Auditore itself is fictional, it bears a passing resemblance to the Villa di Maiano in its overall form, central portico, number of floors and tower. The Villa di Maiano is located in the town of Fiesole, just northwest of Florence. It was notably owned by the Pazzi in the mid-16th century.
- The Villa was featured on the banner of Shaun Hastings' coffee stand, during the infiltration of the Abstergo Entertainment offices in Montreal.
- In Assassin's Creed II, one of Clay Kaczmarek's Glyphs could be found on one of the Villa's walls. However, when Monteriggioni was seen again in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, the glyph was no longer there.