US-looted treasures worth $20mln returned to Italy
The 60 returned items were sold by art dealers and ended up in private collections in the United States without the requisite documentation.
A fresco showing Hercules, which was originally from Herculaneum, a city devastated along with Pompeii by Mount Vesuvius' eruption in 79 A.D., was returned to Italy on Monday, along with 59 other historic items illegally looted by the United States.
Last July, US officials declared that the painting, along with hundreds of other smuggled artworks that had ended up in private collections in the US, would be returned to Italy.
A B.C. kylix, or shallow two-handled drinking bowl, approximately 2,600 years old, was among the more valuable treasures Italian and US authorities displayed to journalists in Rome. A sculpted marble head depicting the goddess Athena from the 2nd century B.C. has also been recovered.
According to Italy, the returned treasures are worth more than $20 million in total.
Archaeological items excavated in Italy are not permitted to leave the nation without authorization under a 1909 Italian law unless they were taken abroad prior to the passage of the law.
It is worth noting that Italy has been a trailblazer in reclaiming illegally looted treasures from museums and private collections around the world.