Thursday 19 September 2019

Italy paints dark future for theft of art treasures as it brings in new penalties

The clampdown comes on the heels of several high-profile repatriations of art and antiquities spirited away to London and New York and recovered only after being put up for sale, sometimes for millions. (AP)
The clampdown comes on the heels of several high-profile repatriations of art and antiquities spirited away to London and New York and recovered only after being put up for sale, sometimes for millions. (AP)

Andrea Vogt

Italy's populist government is to introduce tough new penalties for art and antiquities crime as it vows to crack down on cultural theft as part of its nationalist agenda.

The clampdown comes on the heels of several high-profile repatriations of art and antiquities spirited away to London and New York and recovered only after being put up for sale, sometimes for millions.

A wine carafe, a decanter for precious oils and a soup tureen dating back to ancient Greece were among the latest of 16 precious art and archaeological artefacts recovered in the US over the last two years and returned to Italy last week.

Italian officials say they will soon ratify the Nicosia convention, an international agreement establishing penalties for offences such as unlawful excavation, importation and exportation, illegal acquisition and sale of cultural artefacts.

Their return has been a stated aim of the coalition of the Five Star Movement and the League party.

Irish Independent

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