US Returns 600 Looted Antiquities Worth $65 M. to Italy

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On Tuesday, Italy officially welcomed 600 antiquities from the United States, worth a collective $65 million, that were looted years ago and scattered in the holdings of museums, galleries, and collectors. The trove includes ancient gold coins, mosaics, manuscripts, and bronze statues, all of which were recovered during an extensive criminal investigation.

The items were presented to Italy’s Carabinieri police force by several US representatives: ambassador Jack Markell; Matthew Bogdanos, head of the antiquities trafficking unit of the New York District Attorney’s Office; and several members of the US Homeland Security investigations department.

In a statement, Markell said that the US government was committed to returning loot “to where it belongs” and views Tuesday’s handoff as a signal of its respect for Italy’s cultural heritage.

“We know that safeguarding this history requires care and vigilance, and this is why we do what we do,” he said.

As first noted by the Guardian, missing from the artifacts repatriated was Victorious Youth, a classical Greek bronze statue at the center of a decades-long litigious dispute between Italy and the Getty Museum based in California. In 2018, Italy’s top court, the Court of Cassation, ruled that the work must be returned to Italy. At the ti...


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US Returns 600 Looted Antiquities Worth $65 M. to Italy