Thursday 30 December 2021
from Roman and Etruscan times
Italy brought back millions of treasures from America
They were once illegally excavated and resold in the United States: now Italian police are transferring millions of ancient art treasures to Italy. Culture Minister Francescini speaks of an “extraordinary repatriation”.
Italian police have unearthed about 200 art treasures worth an estimated ten million euros in the United States. The Carabinieri in Rome reported that they were ancient sculptures, amphorae, vases and terracotta busts. “Investigators have reconstructed a series of illegal excavations through art dealers to American museums, auction houses, art galleries and private collections,” said Roberto Riccardi, the commander of the Carabinieri unit for cultural preservation.
According to investigators, the objects come, among other things, from the Roman and Etruscan periods. 160 of them were brought back to Italy, with the rest initially staying at the Italian Consulate General in New York. Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini spoke of an “extraordinary comeback”.
Objects returned to their original place. Carabinieri had worked with the authorities in the United States. Under Italy’s presidency, the states of the 20 most important economic nations (G20) agreed in late July to more vigorously pursue illegal art smuggling.
1700 mock works of art
So far this year, the Carabinieri has confiscated about 1,700 counterfeit works of art and more than 23,600 archaeological objects. The total value is estimated at over 427 million euros. Reports of about 1,190 people had come during the investigation.
According to Ricardy, there are special organizations behind illegal mining. They are experts who are very familiar with ancient civilizations and therefore know that treasures can still be found in tombs today. They usually come at night.
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