Italy celebrated the return Friday of 266 antiquities from the United States, including Etruscan vases and ancient Roman coins and mosaics worth tens of millions of euros (dollars), that were looted and sold to U.S. museums and private collectors.
The returned items include artifacts recently seized in New York from a storage unit belonging to British antiquities dealer Robin Symes, officials said. In addition, the haul that arrived in Rome included 65 objects that had been offered by a collector to Houston’s Menil Collection, but were declined.
The art unit of Italy’s Carabinieri paramilitary police said the owner of the collection “spontaneously” gave back the items after investigators determined they had come from clandestine excavations of archaeological sites, according to a carabinieri statement.
While the carabinieri said the works had been part of the Menil Collection, the museum said they never were. The museum said a collector approached the museum in 2022 about making a gift of the artifacts, but the museum curator directed the collector to the Italian culture minister, “who alerted the museum that Italy was claiming the objects.”
“The Menil Collection declined these works from the collector and they have never been part of the museum’s collection,” spokesperson Tommy Napier said in a statement late Friday to The Associated Press.
Source : CTV