Showing posts with label Carabinieri Art Squad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carabinieri Art Squad. Show all posts

March 17, 2016

Was the Verona Museum Theft Commissioned? Possibly

By Lynda Albertson

Surprising news continues to come out regarding the Thursday, November 19, 2015 theft from the Verona Civic Museum of Castelvecchio where thieves had made off with seventeen Italian and foreign artworks worth an estimated €10m-€15m including rare pieces by Peter Paul Rubens, Bellini, Pisanello, Mategna, the Venetian artist Tintoretto and his son.

The Italian-Moldovan band, led by twin brothers Francesco and Pasquale Silvestri has been code named Operation Gemini after the two brothers found to be at the heart of the theft's organisation.


During a joint press conference conducted by the Squadra Mobile della Questura scaligera, the Servizio Centrale Operativo (Sco) of Italy's State Police and the Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale,  the Public Prosecutor of Verona, Mario Giulio Schinaia stated With these arrests we have partially repaired an offence to the city of Verona, which, however, will only be rectified when the stolen" paintings will be recovered.” 

General Mariano Ignazio Mossa speaking on behalf of the Carabinieri TPC work in breaking the case indicated that his squad had been working in conjunction with local Verona law enforcement from the very beginning, arriving in the city from Rome on the morning after the dramatic theft.  He stated that the law enforcement groups had worked together jointly and continuously from that day forward, without leaving the city throughout the four month investigation. 

With some bitterness in his tone, the general told members of the press that the specialised task force had intentionally elected to work on the developing case silently.  This lips-are-sealed style of law enforcement is something sometimes criticised by the press, who clamour for the release of information from the moment a scandalous museum heist occurs.  

As a rule of thumb, the Carabinieri TPC has long been reticent about releasing much in the way of breaking news information when a major theft investigation is ongoing as the inopportune release of details sometimes serve as an impediment which can then compromise their ongoing investigation. Given the Italian art squad's successful history of recovery, the tactic has served them extremely well. 

General Mossa relayed that sometimes the media mistook the task force’s silence as a lack of attention to the severity of the theft, but in reality the decision preserved the integrity of their investigation and allowed officers to work efficiently to develop the inculpatory evidence necessary to arrest the two Italian brothers as well as Pasquale's Moldovan partner Svetlana Pkachuck.

Pkachuck is considered to be the link to the nine others from the the Republic of Moldova, five of whom were reported to be residing in nearby Brescia where the museum guard's getaway car was reported abandoned.  

Authorities have indicated that the investigation was a laborious one that involved prosecution wire taps into the band's activities and the painstaking review of some 4,000 hours of CCTV footage.   The biggest breakthrough came when the task force identified two Renaults driven by Moldovan members of the group.


Based upon wiretapped conversations authorities believe that three or four of the artworks stolen by the Italian-Moldovan band of thieves were stolen from the museum specifically for one individual. The rest appear to have been grabbed opportunistically, possibly to be sold later, after the commissioned transaction had concluded. 

“We need to wait, its too much of a big mess”  Pasquale Ricciardi Silvestri is said to have said during an intercepted wire tap. 

“They’re afraid, do you understand? We calm things down… what difference is : one month, two months, three months, four months ... what changes? We say nothing and do nothing.  That is fair. ” 

Some have speculated that the masterpieces may have been buried during the initial post-theft phase and then transported to Moldova. We hope to recover works of art abroad. Arresting those responsible is the first step. We are confident we will recover them, said an optimistic General Mossa.

For more details please see the press conference video below with the prosecutor Mario Giulio Schinaia of Verona, the director of the SCO - the Central Operations Service of the Police - Renato Cortese, General Mossa commander of the Carabinieri for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, the commissioner Enzo Mangini and the provincial commander of the carabinieri Peter Oresta.

video

February 16, 2016

Tutta italiana la prima task force a protezione del patrimonio culturale mondiale

Unite for heritage (#Unite4Heritage) 


La prima task force a protezione del patrimonio culturale del mondo, i Caschi Blu della Cultura con i Carabinieri Tpc, nati oggi firmando l'accordo con l'Unesco e presentati a Roma nel complesso delle Terme di Diocleziano. Firmata anche la nascita dell'International Training and Research Center of Economies of Culture and World Heritage, centro di formazione che sarà a Torino, dedicato al nuovo gruppo d'azione.


By:  Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna

Originally published in its entirety, with permission from Di Roma here. 

(a fine testo, prima un video sulla nuova task force e poi una galleria immagini sulla distruzione dell'antica e celebre città di Palmyra, demolizione voluta dall'Isis)


"Una nazione è viva quando è viva la sua cultura". Con queste parole scritte in inglese e in antico persiano si è dato il via alla presentazione della prima task force operativa a protezione del patrimonio culturale mondiale, i Caschi Blu della Cultura "Unite for heritage" che vede impegnati per primi al mondo i Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale.

La frase fu scritta per la prima volta nel 2002 su un pezzo di stoffa appeso all'ingresso del Museo Nazionale dell'Afghanistan a Kabul, struttura salvata da saccheggi e distruzione, avviata alla sua ristrutturazione e restauro delle opere d'arte lì custodite.  Un simbolo chiaro come risposta inequivocabile e ferma, è la nascita di questo gruppo che vede i militari dell'Arma appartenenti al suo nucleo specializzato, insieme a esperti del settore, studiosi e professionisti, pronti a operare in tutto il globo.

Ne dà notizia la stampa di tutto il mondo, tanti i giornalisti non solo italiani alla presentazione. Ne scrive l'organizzazione internazionale ARCA (Association for Research into Crimes against Art) in un suo articolo dettagliato. 


Una presentazione, quella avvenuta oggi nell'aula X delle Terme di Diocleziano – Museo Nazionale Romano, che ha visto la presenza di ben quattro titolari di dicasteri, del direttore generale dell'Unesco, del Comandante dell'Arma dei Carainieri, del sindaco di Torino: i ministri Dario Franceschini (Beni e attività culturali e del Turismo), Roberta Pinotti (Difesa), Stefania Giannini (Istruzione, Università e Ricerca), Paolo Gentiloni (Affari esteri e Cooperazione internazionale), la direttrice Unesco Irina Bokova, il generale Tullio Del Sette e il primo cittadino del capoluogo piemontese, Piero Fassino.

«Il patrimonio culturale è di tutti e tutti abbiamo il dovere di proteggerlo e difenderlo - ha detto il ministro Franceschini - La comunità internazionale protegga patrimonio culturale umanità. Siamo il primo Paese che mette a disposizione dell'Unesco una task force completamente dedicata alla difesa del patrimonio culturale mondiale e già operativa. Spero siano molti i paesi a seguire questa strada».

Il tutto fa seguito all'accordo firmato a ottobre 2015 e con l'approvazione di una risoluzione all'Unesco presentata dall'Italia e firmata da altre 53 nazioni.

«Il patrimonio del mondo non è più minacciato nel corso di un conflitto dalle azioni di guerra, come avveniva nella Seconda Guerra Mondiale - ha sottolineato Franceschini - Ora la distruzione viene filmata e usata come propaganda, a simbolo dell'eliminazione di una cultura diversa, per cancellarla. L'importanza dell'atto firmato oggi non è solo simbolica ma ben concreta».

Il generale Tullio Del Sette ha ribadito la lunga storia operativa del nucleo Tutela Patrimonio Culturale del carabinieri, «nato 47 anni fa (ndR: 3 maggio 1969), primo reparto al mondo dedicato a questo tipo di attività operativa».

I carabinieri Tpc sono stati messi a disposizione anche di diverse nazioni che ne hanno avuto bisogno a seguito di situazioni di grandi crisi», momenti che hanno messo in pericolo il loro patrimonio culturale e tanto per fare un solo esempio numerico, questo Nucleo dell'Arma ha recuperato fino a oggi circa 750mila beni culturali fra opere e reperti.

«Questa Task force contrasta la strategia del terrore seguendo un'azione tipicamente italiana che viene della strategia anti-terrorismo - ha sottolineato il ministro Gentiloni che riferendosi all'Isis ha continuato - Va contro quelle azioni che colpiscono luoghi-simbolo per eliminare la cultura di nazioni e, obiettivo ancora più insidioso, per cancellare la diversità e la pluralità che hanno caratterizzato e caratterizzano le civiltà e i popoli o la "pulizia culturale" dell'Isis in Medio Oriente, con le persecuzioni delle minoranze cristiane e yazide».

L'Unite for heritage può contare su circa 30 carabinieri specializzati e altri 30 tra storici dell’arte, studiosi, restauratori dell’Istituto Centrale del Restauro e dell’Opificio delle Pietre Dure di Firenze. Presto anche anche professori universitari che vogliono partecipare all'azione del gruppo. Da qui la scuola di formazione a Torino, anche questa nata oggi con la sigla del sindaco della città, Fassino.

Il capoluogo piemontese ospita già lo Staff College delle Nazioni Unite. Il nuovo centro di formazione dedicato ai Caschi Blu della Cultura si chiamerà Itrech (International Training and Research Center of Economies of Culture and World Heritage), fondato anche dall’Università degli Studi, il Politecnico, l’ILO/OIT, il Consorzio Venaria Reale e il Centro Studi Santagata che è storico collaboratore dell'Unesco. L’Itrech avrà come base il Campus delle Nazioni Unite che oggi dà sede anche al Centro Internazionale di Formazione dell’Organizzazione Internazionale del Lavoro, allo Staff College e all’Unicri, agenzia Onu per la lotta alla criminalità (United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute).

«Siamo testimoni oggi di un dramma a livello mondiale – ha detto Irina Bokova, direttore generale dell'Unesco nonché possibile nuovo segretario generale Onu – la distruzione del patrimonio culturale, il dramma della pulizia culturale delle minoranze etniche e di ciò che le caratterizza. L'entusiasmo nei confronti dell'Italia è grande perché questo Paese si è reso protagonista di questa nuova iniziativa che contrasterà la depredazione e la perdita del patrimonio mondiale, un'Italia che ha già 54 siti patrimonio dell'umanità, grandi ricercatori, studiosi e i carabinieri che tanto ci assistono con la loro opera».

«Avverto oggi un grande senso di responsabilità per l'apertura di un nuovo capitolo per la protezione del patrimonio culturale - ha concluso la Bokova - Stiamo lanciando oggi un grande messaggio. Ecco le nostre risposte contro l'estremismo, risposte che devono essere la ricostruzione di un mausoleo, il restauro degli scritti della sapienza islamica, dalla matematica all'astronomia, la ricostruzione del ponte di Mostar».


Come specificato anche dal ministero, l'Unite For Heritage non agirà sui fronti di guerra perché la gestione dei conflitti non rientra nel campo operativo del gruppo. I Caschi Blu della cultura non saranno schierati, per esempio, a difesa dell'antica città di Palmira difendendola dall’Isis ma, su specifica richiesta dell’Onu, interverranno in momenti di gravi crisi civili, come durante un terremoto, ad esempio quello del Nepal, per porre riparo a emergenze legate al Patrimonio, oppure verificheranno i danni a opere e siti archeologici dopo un conflitto e dopo il ritiro delle truppe coinvolte. Potranno predisporre il trasferimento in luoghi di sicurezza di opere che potrebbero essere in pericolo e, naturalmente, contrastare i depredatori e trafficanti di reperti utilizzando ogni strumento, compreso il vastissimo database dei Carabinieri TPC che sta alla base di un vasto programma Interpol per la protezione del patrimonio culturale.










The UN's Blue Helmets for Culture Initiative Has Been Signed in Rome


During the joint UNESCO - Italy press conference in Rome this morning a new task force has been formalized to create an international training center for the Blue Helmets for Culture (Italian: 'Caschi Blu' della Cultura).  This body of officers will be tasked with the protections of the world's cultural patrimony.   The agreement was signed at the city of Rome's Baths of Diocletian in the presence of the Mayor of Turin, Piero Fassino, Italy's Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, Italy's Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini and the director general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.

 Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova
Image Credit: Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna,
Journalist, Il Tempo and www.di-roma.com
Working with a mixed composition of specialized personnel including approximately 30 civilian experts (historians, scholars, restorers of the Central Institute of Restoration in Rome and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence) and 30 officers from Italy's art crime squad, the Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale the training center will be based in Turin and called "ITRECH" (International Training and Research Center of Economies of Culture and World Heritage).  

Earlier this week Bokova stated that “the establishment of a Task Force bringing together cultural heritage experts and the Italian Carabinieri force specialized in the fight against the illicit trafficking in cultural property will enhance our capacity to respond to future emergencies.”

The project will be located at the city of Turin's Campus of the United Nations and will serve to build capacity by assessing cultural heritage risks and quantifying damage.  It will also work to develop action plans as well as towards providing technical supervision and training to local national staff of countries in conflict. 

The Blue Helmets for Culture Unit will also assist in the transfer of movable heritage to safe zones  when and where possible and will work to strengthen the fight against looting and illicit trafficking of antiquities. The overarching goal of the initiative is to protect cultural and religious pluralism within a framework of international action to combat terrorism.

Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale Task Force
Image Credit: Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna 
Journalist, Il Tempo and www.di-roma.com
The Turin training site, located at Viale dei Maestri del Lavoro 10, in Turin, Italy is already an international training campus for other International and UN groups such as UNICRI - United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, the ITCILO, the Italian training arm of the International Labour Organization (ILO),  and the UNSSC – United Nations System Staff College.

By:  Lynda Albertson, CEO, ARCA

"ITRECH"
(International Training and Research Center of Economies of Culture and World Heritage) 
Italy's Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini
Image Credit: Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna 
Journalist, Il Tempo and www.di-roma.com
Celebrating the signing of the Blue Helmets for Culture Accord
Image Credit: Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna 
Journalist, Il Tempo and www.di-roma.com

January 21, 2016

Three Stolen Paintings Recovered by the Carabinieri del Nucleo Tutela Patrimonio Culturale in Ancona

© Copyright ANSA
The Carabinieri TPC (Carabinieri del Nucleo Tutela Patrimonio Culturale) in Ancona have recovered three stolen paintings dating from the seventeenth century.  The investigation, started in early 2014 and coordinated by the Public Prosecutors at the Court of Rome and in Perugia involved two paintings stolen in a private home in the province of Siena in 2007 and a third which had been taken from a house in Rome in 1991.  

This is not the first time Ancona's Carabinieri TPC squad has been successful in recovering stolen art. In September 2015 the unit recovered an oil painting from an unknown artist dating from the XVI / XVII century, depicting a 'Madonna with Child'.  This artwork had been stolen sometime in the evening between the 5th and 6th of June 1990 from the Chiesa dei Santi Pietro e Paolo where it had been displayed above the alter.  .The painting had turned up in an an antique store in San Benedetto del Tronto. 

Details on the recent paintings recovered and the conditions of the artworks are expected during a forthcoming Carabinieri TPC press conference. 

January 21, 2015

Once Upon a Time in Five Secure Vaults in Switzerland

By Lynda Albertson, ARCA CEO

ARCA’s blog readers have followed the cases of Italian antiquities trafficking for practically as long as there has been an ARCA blog.  Antiquities dealers, suspected of art crimes with names like Giacomo Medici, Robin Symes, Robert Hecht, Christo Michaelides, and Gianfranco Becchina are names you can search on and who each have pages of blog posts dedicated to them.

For those that want to delve further, books like The Medici Conspiracy and Chasing Aphrodite give English language accounts of the cases and investigations surrounding these dealers and for those who read Italian, Fabio Isman’s multi-year investigation I predatori dell’arte perduta explains why Italy has fought so hard to have its stolen antiquities returned home.

But in the background of all this, were the artworks themselves; artwork large and small, artworks looted and sold, and artworks looted and almost sold, had it not been for the quick thinking of investigators who diligently worked, in some cases for years, to put the pieces of this one puzzle together.

Those who have worked on these cases know how hard it is to identify suspect antiquities, especially when snapped on crumpled Polaroids.  Matching smashed pot fragments in photos taken in a darkened basement or the boot of a car with professional-quality photos of finally restored masterpieces on sale in auction catalogs takes a sharp eye.  More than that, it takes a considerable amount of patience, cooperation and collaboration with legal and law enforcement authorities to bring these articles home.

How did these objects get from an unknown archaeological site to a middleman? Who were the individual tombaroli?  Who were the intermediaries who physically transported these objects to dealer warehouses in Switzerland?  Why were museums and art collectors so quick to turn a blind eye to these objects' lack of collection history?  All of these are questions we may never be able to fully answer, but which have been speculated on in minute detail.

What maybe hasn’t been examined, or at least not in such a visually dramatic way is the amount of work behind this laborious investigation.  The work of the Carabinieri TPC, the work of Italy’s state prosecutors and expert consultants, and the work of Italy’s Ministry of Culture.   But instead of trying to tell their story in this blog post, perhaps its best to let photos of what they have recovered speak for themselves.

The imagery you see here comes from one singular organized crime investigation presented  today at the National Roman Museum at The Baths of Diocletian (Museo Nazionale Romano alle Terme di Diocleziano). 

5,361 archaeological objects, each ripped from their context, giving us no known site of origin to tell us about the place where they were taken from.  The objects date from the eighth century BC to the third century AD., all looted, all displayed together in one place.

Each piece represents an artwork stolen from  Campania, Lazio, Calabria, Puglia, Sicily or Sardinia.

One trafficking enterprise.  How many more are there?  
 

 























Note:  The accompanying photographs and video in this blog post represent approximately half of the 5,361 antiquities confiscated in Basel, Switzerland in 2001 as part of Operation Teseo.  Italy’s court reached its final and lasting verdict of confiscation via the Italian Supreme Court in 2013, which was then validated and confirmed by Switzerland.  These objects have been in Italy since 2004 and do not represent a “new” seizure as has been indicated by some journalists not familiar with the cases history.  The antiquities on display during the press conference are objects well known to researchers in the field of Italian antiquities looting and have been held as part of the ongoing investigation in Rome so that researchers and investigators had access to them as part of the investigation and for cataloging purposes.

The collection may gone on temporary display in Italy as a group but will then be disbursed to museums in the regional areas where the objects were likely looted.










June 16, 2013

Carabinieri Headquarters for the Protection of Cultural Heritage Publishes Annual Bulletins of Stolen Art Online

Ton Cremers for Museum Security Network sent out a valuable link to "Art in Ostaggio - Art in Hostage", bilingual bulletins of stolen works of art prepared by the Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale from 2004-2012 designed to combat against the worldwide problem of the illegal art market.

The 124-page report for 2012 includes a statement from the Carabinieri Headquarters for the Protection of Cultural Heritage:
We believe that what has been stolen must not be considered as lost forever. On the contrary, we regard it as held hostage by offenders who can and must be defeated by the Italian and international police force, together with the Ministry of Culture, the art dealers and all the citizens.
The information for each stolen object registered includes: artist or school (with indications limiting or the fining its paternity, such as: attributed to, workshop of, copy by, etc.); title or subject of the work; material and technique of execution; Dimensions; carabinieri databank reference number; and images.

The report is divided into archaeology; woodwork; ecclesiastic objects; painting; and sculpture. The report concludes with an index of the stolen works and a list of recovered artworks reported in the Bulletin's previous issues.

A year-in-progress list for 2013 reports the recovery of 10 objects previously identified in earlier bulletins.

May 10, 2012

More confirmation of old news? Pietro Grasso, head of the anti-Mafia crime unit, confirms in May that Caravaggio's Nativity of Palermo eaten by pigs

Caravaggio's Nativity from Palermo
In 2009, Judith Harris wrote for the ARCA blog a post titled "Breaking News on the Stolen Caravaggio Nativity" that a member of the mafia told law officials that the painting was likely destroyed in the 1980s.  But just last week, Journalist Noel Grima for The Malta Independent online reported May 6th that Pietro Grasso, the head of the anti-Mafia crime unit, confirmed again that legal authorities believe that the Caravaggio of Palermo has been eaten by pigs.

Possibly no one wants to believe that the painting has been so carelessly destroyed; the FBI and Interpol still list the painting as stolen and missing.

Grima repeats a formerly published article in eosarte.eu "Arezzo, il Procuratore antimafia Pietro Grasso: il Caravaggio di Palermo mangiato dai porci" dated April 22 reports that Grasso confirmed during a press conference earlier rumors that the Nativity paintings with Saints Lorenzo and Francis of Assisi has likely been tossed around by criminals and ended up in a pig sty and eaten by rats and pigs over the years.
"Ci verrobbe tempo perché è una lunga storia ... ma riteniamo che il quadro sia finito nelle mani di ignoranti che l'hanno hascosto in una porcilaia, dove magari porci poi se lo sono mangiato."
Grima translates:
The anti-Mafia's head's reply was a chilling one: "We need more time because the situation is rather complicated, but we believe the painting ended up in the hands of ignorant people who hit it in a pigsty where the pigs ate it."
The Malta connected dates back to the 17th century when the artist was imprisoned there.  Caravaggio himself lead a tumultuous lifestyle documented in Italian police records.

Grima claims that a painting similar to The "Nativity" by Caravaggio would be worth $200 million while the FBI website estimates the value at $20 million.

In October 1969, two thieves entered the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palmero, Italy, according to the FBI, and removed Caravaggio's Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco from its frame.

Interpol still reports the painting as missing on its stolen art database and places the date of the theft as October 18, 1969.  Interpol lists nine other works by Caravaggio (or from the school of or in the manner of) as stolen: Portrait of an Old Woman, Montepulciano, Italy, December 22, 1970; Doubting Tomas from Frascati, Italy, March 15, 1974; Beggars and Invalids (copper painting) from San Sebastian, Spain, April 1978; Man with a Pendant Earring, The Draughts Players, and Venice Feeding the Cupids, from La Storta, Italy, December 1, 1979; Saint Gerolamo, from Dozza, Italy, June 4, 1985; Two Men Playing Dice, from Lessona, Italy, July 27, 1986; and Los Jugadores from Santa Fe de Bogata, Colombia, October 24, 1999.

April 20, 2012

Looted Nuraghic bronze statuettes from Sardinia Sold in Germany and the United States according to the Carabinieri Cultural Heritage Protection unit in Sassari

Translation by Francesca Rossi, Our Correspondent in Amelia

ARCA blog asked Ms. Rossi to translate the first part of the article "Germania e Usa le ultime mete dei bronzetti trafugati" (Germany and the USA are the destinations for looted bronzes) published by Casteddu.online, a daily newspaper in Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia.

Forced to emigrate even after two or three thousands years spent in Sardinia: crammed into trucks or inside a bag between trousers and shirts, in the aircraft hold. They make stopovers of four to five years in Switzerland, ‘cause the rest is good (and certainly allows the dust to settle). And then they cross the continents: to the United States or Canada on one side, Japan on the other. This is the clandestine journey of nacelles and Nuraghic bronze statuettes. A new emergency, according to Paolo Montorsi, Commander of the Carabinieri Cultural Heritage Protection nucleus of Sassari, who, during a conference organized by the Carabinieri during the Week of Culture, spoke about this argument.

The phenomenon of illegal excavations has declined compared to previous years, though. “Probably – clarified Montorsi – because the valuable pieces are already gone”. This doesn’t mean the Carabinieri do let their guard down: there’s a new line of investigation, which obviously is still secret, that takes us in Germany and United States. Pieces easy to take away because of their reduced dimensions, but of great value: some of those bronze statues, in the black market, are valued about 20.000€/cm.

In particular, the highest number of illegal excavations is recorded in the area of Nuoro. “It’s very important when a theft is reported – explained Montorsi – to provide a photo of the stolen handwork, so it can be inserted in a database interacting with the Interpol.”

March 26, 2012

List of artworks recovered by the Carabinieri TPC in Rome in March 2012 -- 41 years after they were reported stolen from a private residence in the same district

Guido Reni's Judith and Holofernes
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog editor

Earlier this month, the Carabinieri's del Reparto Operativo Tutela Patrimonio Culturale di Roma (TPC, Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage) recovered 37 paintings that had been stolen from a private residence in 1971. The artworks hadn't left Rome's Parioli neighborhood from where they had been stolen.  Apparently, a couple had purchased 37 of the paintings twenty years ago in a private sale.  When the husband died, the 50-year-old widow placed four of the paintings in an auction sales catalogue.  In a routine operation, a Carabinieri officer had matched those images to the TPC's stolen art database which contains more than 3 million stolen artworks.  Eleven paintings stolen in 1971 were found in the woman's home in Rome and another 26 works in another home located outside the city.

The Carabinieri TPC provided a list of the most important recovered paintings (translated here):

A pair of paintings of oil on canvas attributed to Luca Giordano, rural landscapes, 49x76 cm;

Peter Paul Rubens' Christ on the Cross
Oil on canvas, Giuseppe Ruoppolo (1631-1710), still life with fruit, 50x38 cm;

Oil on canvas, Philipp Peter Roos/Rosa da Tivoli (1657-1706),  Three putti playing with a goat, 97x134 cm;

Oil on canvas, Andrea Meldolla/Lo Schiavone (1510-1563), Venus and Love, 98x123 cm;

Oil on canvas, Salvator Rosa (1615-1673), lake landscape with soldiers, 36x70 cm;

A pair of oil on canvas paintings, Antonio Diziani (1737-1797), country market, 40x60 cm;

Oil on canvas, Giulio Carpioni (1613-1678), Bacco and Arianna, 63x53 cm;

Oil on canvas, school of Paolo Caliari/Il Veronese (1528-1588), Scene with Saints, martyrs and angels, 75x62 cm;

Oil on canvas, Guido Reni (1575-1642), Judith and Holofernes, 39x30 cm;

Van Dyck's Portrait of a Knight
Oil on canvas, Pietro Longhi (1702-1785), carnival scene, 33x40 cm;

Oil on canvas, Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Christ on the cross, 47x27 cm;

Oil on canvas, Antoon Van Dyck (1599-1641), Portrait of a Knight, 36x28 cm;

Oil on canvas, Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806), Portrait of a Lady, 40x33 cm;




Tempera on wood panel with gold background, Berlinghiero Berlinghieri (late 12th century - 1236), Madonna with Child, 69x39 cm;

Tempera on wood panel with gold background, school of PisaMadonna with Child, 52x40 cm;

Nicolas Poussin's Baptism of Christ
Oil on canvas, Pieter Van Laer (1599-1642), rural scene with ladies and knights, 52x66 cm;

Oil on canvas, Giovan Battista Recco (1615-1660), still life with fish, 53x70 cm;

Oil on canvas, school of Caravaggio, depicting still life with fruit, 40x66 cm.


Oil on canvas, Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665, Baptism of Christ, 50x66 cm; and

Tempera on wood panel, Taddeo Gaddi (1290-1366), Crucifixion, 55x23 cm.