Stolen Italian art treasures seized in the United States

The Italian Gendarmerie Protection Unit said Thursday that about 200 million euros (3.7 billion forints) of about 200 artifacts stolen from Italy, including antique sculptures, flasks, vases and busts, were confiscated in the United States.

Many antiques are Roman or Etruscan. Roberto Ricciardi, the unit’s commander, said that 160 of the treasures have already been transported to Italy, and the rest are waiting to go home at the Italian Consulate General in New York.

Roberto RiccardiSource: NoorPhoto via AFP/Andrea Ronchini/NoorPhoto/Andrea Ronchini, Ronchini

The commander said the investigation uncovered a well-organized smuggling network ranging from illegal excavators to art dealers to American museums, auction houses, art galleries and private collections.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini spoke of the “extraordinary recovery” and said so The stolen artifacts are returned to their original location.

Italian gendarmes have seized nearly 1,700 counterfeit artifacts this year and confiscated more than 23,600 archaeological finds with a total value of 427 million euros (158 billion forints), according to a press conference on Thursday.

During the investigation, 1,190 people were charged.

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