In all, 60 archaeological finds were repatriated from the USA to Italy where they had been marketed by international art traffickers.
The works, worth over 20 million dollars, are returning to Italy thanks to the collaboration between the Carabinieri for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (TPC) and the New York County District Attorney's Office (DAO).
Among the finds recovered is a Pompeian fresco depicting the proceeds of clandestine excavations in the Vesuvius area: the Child Hercules with snake, dating back to the 1st century AD "It is a great success against illicit trafficking" comments Minister Sangiuliano.
The recovered assets are in fact the result of the looting of Italian archaeological sites fueled by unscrupulous traffickers: works that remained for years in museums, private homes and foreign galleries without any property rights.
Some finds had ended up in private US collections, such as that of one of the largest collectors of ancient art in the world, who has now been imposed, an unedited fact, a lifetime ban on buying antiquities.
In order to unmask the criminals, in addition to the investigative work of the weapon and the competent US authorities, the technical-scientific contribution of the experts of the Ministry of Culture and the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for judicial and police cooperation were also needed, at the basis of the identification, recovery and restitution of finds,
Almost 75,000 archaeological and paleontological assets recovered (74,748) and 1,227 fake works seized, with a value, if placed on the market as authentic, of over 85 million euros.
It is the result of the activity carried out in 2022 by the Carabinieri of the Protection of the TPC cultural heritage in contrast to the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage.
The operational activity of the year, the data of which are not yet complete, recorded hundreds of security checks in museums, libraries and archives, searches and 971 people reported.
In particular, according to what was anticipated on the occasion of the presentation of the 60 assets recovered from the USA, there were a total of 288 thefts of cultural assets, 10 of which in museums and 123 in places of worship.
In addition, 31,672 works of art were checked in the "Leonardo Data Bank" and 1,419 checks on land and sea archaeological areas, some carried out in collaboration with the Carabinieri of the Aircraft Group or the Underwater Units, 64 people were reported for clandestine excavations.
On the other hand, over 2,000 checks were carried out on antique dealers, partly carried out online, including on auction catalogues
Since the beginning of the year, the TPC Carabinieri have carried out 1,584 checks on monumental or landscape sites (the latter carried out in agreement with the Forestry sector of the Arma), detecting illegal activities and proceeding with the referral of 124 people and the seizure of 8 properties and 2 between landscaped areas or structures (built without the required authorisations) falling within restricted areas.