They returned to Italy and presented today in Rome, at the National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo, 750 archaeological finds repatriated from London on May 19.

Vases, jewelry in gold, silver and bronze and 26 necklaces reconstructed in gold, silver and bronze, a lead sarcophagus, floor fragments from the Middle Ages, these are some of the precious goods recovered following the investigations of the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, coordinated by the Public Prosecutor's Office at the Court of Rome, aimed at combating international trafficking of cultural goods, This also resulted in an out-of-court procedure and a civil case, conducted in close collaboration with the Ministry of Culture through the State Attorney General.

Archaeological heritage returned to Italy

The findings, coming from clandestine excavations on Italian territory, had flowed into an English company in liquidation, Symes Ltd, attributable to Robin Symes, a trafficker of cultural goods who pretended to be an art dealer. He himself managed to keep for his company, until May 11, the 750 finds for a total value of 12 million euros.

A few weeks ago, in fact, the complex negotiations followed by the Ministry of Culture were concluded, in synergy with the Carabinieri dell'Arte and with the collaboration of the Italian Embassy in London and, on May 19, the finds arrived in Rome.

Another 71 artifacts are currently in the United States and will be recovered in the coming days by the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.

A story that makes us think of cinema and novels but that in reality is representative of what the Brigadier General, Vincenzo Molinese, Commander of the TPC (Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage), has defined "archeomafie with articulated groups that divide the various tasks, from the 'grave robber' to the international broker ", during the press conference held this morning in the Chapel of the Condemned of the Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo. " The investigations on art - he added - never end, because Italian art has been stolen for years and continues to be so".

This time, thanks to these investigations, it was possible to escort hundreds of vases, jewels, items of clothing, gold, silver, bronze jewelry and even weapons, tools, sarcophagi, votive objects and much more: all dating back to a period dating from the eighth century BC to the Middle Ages. A similar restitution agreement has also been signed for some Greek finds dating back to the Neolithic.

The images of the presentation at Castel Sant'Angelo and the interview with the archaeologist Sara Neri

Symes Ltd had always opposed attempts by the Italian judicial authority to recover and was subject to bankruptcy proceedings in the United Kingdom and sued in Italy through the Avvocatura dello Stato for restitution of assets or civil compensation.

"If there had not been the passion for culture and civil passion of the Carabinieri Heritage Protection Unit - said the Minister for Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, present at the conference - it would be difficult to obtain these results". The goal, the minister concluded, "is to stamp out international illegality in the trafficking of works of art and promote a positive and legal circulation of works through major exhibitions".

Also present at today's conference were Mario Turetta, Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture, Lorenzo d'Ascia, Lawyer of the State Attorney General and Elena Sourani, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic in Rome.

Ministry of Culture

One of the exhibits on display at Castel Sant'Angelo