Ever since the 1770s when William Hamilton collected and exported Greek vases found in the excavations of Pompeii , ancient artifacts and tomb robbers ( tombaroli ) have been part of the Italian scene.
According to the Carabinieri, the theft of Italy’s art and archeological patrimony is fourth on the list of crime in Italy, after arms, drugs and financial crime.
|funerary urn with myth of Enomao|
|Apulian red figure plate|
Many of these objects have been looted from tombs and necropoli in Etruria, in central Italy or from the Puglia region.
|gilded copper, coral encrusted pyx|
On show until mid-March I Tesori : La Memoria Ritrovata at Palazzo Qurinale in Rome, an exhibit of over 100 objects found and returned to Italy by the Carabinieri.
Among the precious objects are 23 funerary urns stolen from the Perugia area, Greek vases, silver and coral objects.
Here are a few books on the subject that I recommend for those wanting more background on the criminal looting of Italy's ancient treasures.
The names recurring in all these books are those of dishonest curators at prestigious American museums, dodgy auction houses, and intermediaries who smuggled looted treasures dug up by tombaroli.
|magnificent horses on an Apulian oinochoe|
Another excellent exhibit featuring fine arts, antiquities and treasures is now on in Rome until February 16th: The Treasure of San Gennaro at Palazzo Sciarra on Via del Corso in Rome.
Between March 1 and June 30, Trajan's Market (Mercati di Traiano) will play host to an exhibit on the excavations of Cencelle .
|Cencelle near Tolfa|
Cencelle, considered the Pompeii of the Middle Ages, is located on the hills near Civitavecchia and Tolfa.
I wrote about Cencelle as a perfect day trip for cruise passengers docking in Civitavecchia in "Etruria, travel, history and itineraries in central Italy "
|photo by Agostino Cecchini|
Check my website , (Google rated as the top site for buying antiques in Italy) for more itineraries and information about antiques in Italy.
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