The Casa Casuarina mansion in Miami's South Beach neighborhood, where Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace was gunned down in 1997, will be put up for auction this week with bidding starting at $25 million.

The Fisher Auction Company has been entrusted with organizing the event, which will be held on Tuesday inside the mansion but will be closed to the press.

The auction, local media outlets reported, has aroused interest among U.S. and international buyers, including British soccer icon David Beckham and his wife Victoria.

Interested parties had to put down initial deposits of $3 million (2.2 million euros) and prove that they had $40 million (30.3 million euros) in additional funds to qualify for the bidding.

The house is 6,100 square meters (65,600 square feet) in size and has 10 bedrooms and 11 baths, a spectacular swimming pool featuring mosaics with gold inlays, an astronomical observatory, a baroque garden with sculptures and ceilings covered in frescos with mythological themes.

Versace in 1992 bought what was an old apartment building in the Spanish style and transformed it into a luxurious palace in the Imperial Roman style surrounded with lush gardens, bronze sculptures and his famous heads of Medusa - his personal motif - set into the walls around it.

The Italian designer was shot twice in the head and killed on July 15, 1997, on the steps of the entrance to the mansion after eating breakfast at a nearby restaurant where each morning he bought the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera and several French magazines.

His killer, Andrew Cunanan, a man who worked as a prostitute for rich homosexuals and was suspected in two other murders, committed suicide nine days later in a houseboat some two kilometers (1 1/4 miles) away where he had holed up to elude the massive manhunt police mounted in the wake of the shooting. EFE