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Art cops bring back 200 antiquities from USA

'Extraordinary haul of masterpieces' returned to Italy says min

(ANSA) - ROME, DEC 30 - Italy's crack art cops have brought back 201 unique and priceless antiquities tracked down to US museums and private collections.
    They include a large seventh-century BC Etruscan Pithos, from the Getty, with one-eyed Cyclops Poliphemus twiesting in pain as Odysseus blinds him.
    There is also a wide crater or drinking cup from the famed archaeological site at Paestum south of Naples, in which illustrious Magna Graecia ceramist Python fashioned sex and wine god Dionysus with a satyr.
    Another magnificent piece is an black-figure Attic hydria pot showing Herakles fighting the Nemean lion, flanked by the goddess of wisdowm Athena, messenger god Hermes and the ancient strongman's nephew and Theban divine hero Iolaus.
    The dazzling hoard was returned to Italy in New York on December 15 by Mahattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr, son of Jimmy Carter's secretary of state Cyrus Vance.
    The Carabinieri Safeguarding the Cultural Heritage (TPC) unit worked for years to trace the stolen treasure along with the FBI.
    TPC Commander General Roberto Riccardi, who presented the antiquities Thursday along with Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, said the haul was worth some 10 million euros.
    The pieces are prime examples of Etruscan, Magna Graecian, Apulian and Roman craftsmanship dating from between the eight century BC and the first century AD, the general said.
    "This is an extraordinary recovery of absolute masterpieces," said Franceschini.
    "Their value is not just economic but also identitarian and cultural and this will be even more evident when we have returned all the works to museums in the areas they come from".
    Around 40 of the works will stay in the States for now, on show until the end of March at the Italian consulate in New York and the Italian cultural institute in the US city.
    In all, in 2021 the art cops have recovered 23,363 archaeological and paleontological pieces as well as seizing 1,693 fakes. (ANSA).


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