US returns $11M worth of illegally trafficked stolen Italian antiquities
Italy on Thursday welcomed the return of antiques worth nearly $11 million that were illegally trafficked and sold to U.S. museums and galleries.
U.S. officials returned 201 artifacts earlier this month. Of those, 40 are currently on exhibit at the Italian Consulate General and 161 have been resettled in Italy, according to the Associated Press.
“These artworks will not end up, as has happened many times in the past, all in one big museum,” Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, said, according to the news outlet.
He detailed that the works will be returned to where they were stolen from and will be preserved and displayed in museums in those areas, AP noted.
“This too is a great homecoming operation that will add value to our extraordinary country as a vast museum. They are artworks of absolute importance that will attract people to those places and territories,” Franceschini said.
Ancient pottery, Roman art, a terracotta statue dating from the 4th century BC and 96 pieces that were included in the collection of the Fordham Museum of Greek were all reportedly among artwork that was returned to Italy by the U.S.
A large majority of the stolen pieces were found to be connected to Italian native Edoardo Almagia, who was living in New York for a time. In 2006, Italy dropped charges against him due to the statute of limitation, but in 2013 a judge in Rome ordered for all of his antiquities to be seized in New York and Naples, AP reported.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office told The Associated Press that Almagia still remains at large in Italy.
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